Imports of plastics, and aluminium into China were mostly down in May compared to April but copper and paper were up, according to Chinese customs’ statistics.
PET in sliced or chipped form dropped from 14,975 tonnes in April to 14,493 tonnes in May. Year on year, this has dropped by 30.8 per cent.
China imported 158,711 tonnes of ABS copolymers in May, but 166,593 in April. Year on year, tonnage is down 7.2 per cent.
In terms of imports of primary plastics, imports dropped from 1,830,000 tonnes in April to only 1,720,000 tonnes in May.
Paper and paperboard imports were at 300,000 tonnes in April, but rose to 310,000 tonnes in May. Pulp also increased from 1.2 million tonnes in April to 1.22 million tonnes in May. Year on year paper and paperboard imports are down 6 per cent, but pulp imports are up 30.6 per cent.
Imports of scrap copper increased slightly in May to 400,000 tonnes from 380,000 tonnes in April. Year on year, scrap copper imports have increased by 5.8 per cent.
Scrap aluminium was down from 230,000 tonnes in April to 220,000 tonnes in May. Year on year it has dropped by 12.2 per cent.
Analysts are blaming high prices from preventing Chinese buyers from re-stocking inventory.
Jinrui Futures Co analyst Zhao Kai, speaking about the copper market, said: “The London (LME) price is still too high for any re-stocking plan. As the June to August period is the usual slack season, we probably won’t see a strong rebound in imports, despite the significant decline of domestic stocks.”
In terms of the overall market, Yong’an Futures Co analyst Wu Jianjian said: “We expect imports in the second half to rise from the first half, but a jump doesn’t seem to be very likely. Because Beijing is determined to curb inflation, and as CPI growth remains fast, there is no sign now that it’s going to loosen money supply in the near future.”
Inflation climbed to 5.5 per cent in China in May, ahead of the government’s 4 per cent target.