Imports of copper and other metals into China dropped to 254,738 tonnes in May compared to 262,676 tonnes in April, according to the Chinese customs authority.
Compared to last year, it had dropped by 36 per cent from 396,712 tonnes in May 2010.
However, there are predictions that this is a temporary situation and that China is set to increase its imports of copper.
Beijing Antaike Information Development Company manager of copper research Jesse Jiang said: “Investors play an important role in the copper market, but there is also real demand from end-users. The power sector, government-subsidised housing and transportation will continue to drive metal usage.”
While Barclays Capital analyst Nicholas Snowdon added in a research note: “The Chinese market is awakening from the destocking cycle that lasted nine months. Their backyard inventories have been completely depleted. By July, we will begin to see a steady increase in imports.”
He predicted that copper could reach a record $12,000 per tonne by the end of the year.
The 3-months buyer price for copper on the LME was $8,963.5 per tonne on 9 June compared to $8,980.50 the day before.