China’s copper smelters plan to increase refined copper exports following a recent tax adjustment that have reduced their costs to export and made such trades more attractive, two sources at smelters said on Monday.
The move could encourage smelters to ship thousands of tonnes of refined copper from China to London Metal Exchange warehouses and weigh on global prices, which have so far shed more than 13 per cent from the year’s high hit in February to $7,415 a tonne on Monday.
“We plan to export at least 10,000 tonnes of copper a month. Total exports (from China) could be between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes per month,” said a sales manager at a large smelter, referring to the second half of the year.
Should domestic demand remain weak and overseas prices stay higher, exports from China, the world’s top consumer, may surge to as high as 180,000 tonnes in the second half of the year compared with just 9,336 tonnes in the same period last year, he said.
Benchmark three-month LME copper prices were more than 1,000 yuan ($160) per tonne higher than the most active copper contract in Shanghai on Monday.
China’s refined copper exports jumped 31 per cent in the first six months to 192,560 tonnes versus a year ago as smelters such as Jiangxi Copper.