A jump in Chinese copper imports is strengthening the outlook of exchange traded funds that track copper prices and Chile, the world’s largest copper producer,
The General Adminstration of Customs said that unwrought copper and copper product arrivals increased 53% to 536,000 metric tons last month year-over-year, Bloomberg reports.
“It’s very likely that the trade financing need boosted imports,” Lian Zheng, the head of the base metals research at Xinhu Futures Co., said in the article. “Copper is still a top pick among commodities to get funding, even as such trades have been under serious scrutiny by regulators.”
China, the largest consumer of copper, said exports surged 10.6% last month while imports jumped 10.3%. Those data points would appear to be a positive catalyst for copper, but market observers are skeptical, saying the extended Lunar New Year should have been a drag on activity in the world’s second-largest economy. [Some Investors Favoring Cyclical Metals]
“Additionally, some traders imported excessive volumes ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday,” Lian added, referring to the week long hiatus between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6.
Chile previously projected that global copper prices will average $3.15 per pound this year before easing to an average of $3.00 per pound in 2015 on increased production, with Chile expected to produce 6 million tons this year, compared to 5.77 million tons last year, Reuters reports.
COMEX copper futures currently hover around $3.31 per pound.