China Copper Exports to Jump in Rare Deliveries to LME Depots (Bloomberg News – March 8, 2023)

China is poised to export a significant volume of copper in coming weeks, a relatively infrequent occurrence that underscores a tepid demand recovery in the biggest market.

At least four major smelters are planning to deliver between 23,000 and 45,000 tons of refined copper in total to London Metal Exchange depots in Asia, according to people with knowledge of the sales, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

The burst of exports confirms China’s weak economic rebound, with manufacturing and construction still gearing up after Covid-related disruptions over the past year. Market inventories have jumped recently, and a key question is whether the wave of outbound shipments will extend beyond this month.

China imports huge amounts of copper in various forms, but refined metal occasionally flows out when there’s too much domestic supply and not enough elsewhere. Price differentials now make it more lucrative to sell at least some material on the world market.

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