China has for the first time revealed the size of its copper inventory, suggesting that demand for the metal may be lower than previously thought.
The state-backed China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association estimated that copper stocks stood at 1.9 million tonnes at the end of 2010, reported the Financial Times today. Previous estimates stood at between one million and 1.5 million tonnes.
The association estimated that copper stocks, excluding those held by the Shanghai Futures Exchange, were around 1.768 million tonnes at the end of 2010. In 2008 and 2009, respectively, the figures stood at 282,000 and 1.218 million. Shanghai held around 132,000 tonnes in 2010.
China accounts for around 40% of the world’s copper demand and is a major factor in influencing prices on the global copper market. A Chinese ‘buying spree’ starting in late 2009 was said to have sparked a re-invigoration of prices.
But one scrap metal dealer told MRW he did not believe the news would have a major impact on the secondary copper market.