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China's import of copper falls 23 percent
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-06-14 10:16
China's import of copper and copper related products came to 821,465 tons in the first five months of this year, down 23 percent from the same period a year earlier.

This was attributed to the country's macro-control policy on the sector, which came into effect late last year, Shanghai Securities News said Tuesday.

Copper prices, which were higher on the international market than the domestic market, also dampened the enthusiasm of importers and speculators, the paper quoted Hu Bin, an analyst of Zhejiang Yong'an Futures Company as saying.

Hu said copper importers were losing 5,000-6,000 yuan (625-750 U.S. dollars) per ton due to the price gap.

Spurred by surging copper prices and high profit, Chinese copper enterprises have been expanding smelting capacity since 2003.

The expansion has resulted in excessive production capacity, experts said, warning that the rapid growth of copper smelting could leave domestic raw materials in short supply.

In the late 2005, five ministries, including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, jointly published a circular restricting investment in copper smelting.

It is expected that China's copper output will grow over 8 percent to around 2.8 million tons in 2006. In the first four months this year, China's refined copper output grew 26.7 percent to 937,000 tons.
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