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Chinas 2020 Copper Imports Hit Record High

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Jan 14 Reuters China imported record volumes of unwrought copper and copper products on an annual basis in 2020, while its annual exports of aluminium fell to the lowest since 2017.

Imports of unwrought copper and copper products for the year came in at 6.68 million tonnes, customs data showed on Thursday, up a third from 2019 and extending the annual record notched well before the end of the year, on the back of a quick recovery from the coronavirus epidemic.

December imports, however, slumped for a third consecutive month to 512,332 tonnes, as construction and manufacturing demand was not enough to offset the closure of an arbitrage window that made 2020 a record year for shipments into China, the worlds top consumer of the metal.

That was down 8.7 from 561,310.7 tonnes in November and its lowest monthly level since May.

December imports were within expectations, I think it will continue decreasing in January from a high base, said He Tianyu, China copper demand analyst at CRU Group.

He said the record 2020 imports were due to state reserve stockpiling as well as Chinas quick recovery from the coronavirus epidemic that opened up an arbitrage between London and Shanghai copper prices.

COVID19 also transferred some overseas orders of home appliances and medical products to China, which pushed up the China imports.

The arbitrage between Shanghai and London copper prices that made imports so favourable in mid2020 remained closed, reducing the incentive to ship…

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