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China’s November Copper Imports Provide Some Relief to Bulls

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Dec. 11 2017, Updated 3:25 p.m. ET

China’s November copper imports

Analysts see Chinese copper imports as an indicator of the country’s copper demand. China’s copper imports data are closely followed by investors in companies such as Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Glencore (GLEN-L), and Southern Copper (SCCO). China imported 470,000 metric tons of unwrought copper and copper products in November 2017 compared to 380,000 metric tons in the corresponding month last year. Imports rose 42.4% compared to October, their highest level since December 2016.

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Record concentrate imports

China also imports copper concentrates that are processed in the country. Last month, China imported ~1.8 million metric tons of copper ores and concentrates. That’s a fresh monthly record for China’s copper concentrates imports. Its November copper imports data were better than expected. Copper prices saw an upward price action after China’s November copper imports data boosted sentiments. Last month, China’s copper imports disappointed the markets, triggering a sell-off in copper (FM) (ANTO).

Relief to bulls

China’s November copper imports data provided some relief to market bulls. The red metal, which closed almost flat last month, came under selling pressure this month. A range of issues from a stronger US dollar to geopolitical issues to concerns over Chinese demand are playing heavily on copper prices in December.

Although China’s November copper imports data paint a rosy picture of the country’s copper demand, not many analysts are convinced that imports can sustain at these levels.

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