China's March copper scrap discount widens, buyers fear import restriction

Cargoes of copper scrap for import into China have been trading at a bigger discount in March, with buyers staying on the market sidelines on worries they may not get approval to import scrap before new restrictions come into effect this summer.

The discount for No2 copper scrap, birch and cliff, comprising 94-96% copper, rose to $0.32-0.38 per lb cif China on Monday March 25. That compared with $0.28-0.34 per lb a month earlier. “Clients have reduced their orders for both No1 and No2 copper scrap. They are afraid of not getting approval to import copper scrap before the end of June,” a major US copper scrap trader said. From July 2019, the Chinese government will restrict imports of category 6 copper scrap, which makes up about 85% of total copper scrap flows. While no details about the restrictions have been announced, it was widely expected that an import quota system will be put in place in July, similar to how the Chinese government began to control the inflow of category 7 copper scrap last year. At that time, there was an immediate drop in the volume...

Published

Julian Luk

March 25, 2019

15:58 GMT

London