BEIJING, Apr 9 (Reuters) – China’s refined copper imports are expected to fall 27% in 2021 from last year’s solid levels, while overseas purchases of aluminum would plunge by more than half, it said on Friday. the state consultancy Antaike.
China, the world’s top metals importer, bought record volumes of aluminum and copper in 2020 as the rapid recovery in demand after the COVID pandemic pushed local prices above international values, opening the door to an arbitration to seek industrial inputs abroad.
Antaike, the consultancy for the China Non-Ferrous Metal Industries Association, expects refined copper imports to total 3.4 million tonnes this year, a decline of 27.2% compared to 4.67 million tonnes in the year. 2020, said firm analyst He Xiaohui at a market outlook event.
After unprecedented purchases last year, imports “will return to reasonable levels” this year, he said. The arbitration terms have been closed and Antaike expects China’s own refined copper production to grow in 2021.
Antaike projects that China’s refined copper consumption will rise 3.7% this year due to strong demand from the auto, real estate and power sectors.
China’s net primary aluminum imports are expected to fall to 450,000 tonnes in 2021 from more than 1 million tonnes in 2020, Antaike senior analyst Shen Lingyan said.
Shen estimated China’s aluminum consumption to rise 4.2% this year to 40 million tonnes, but he expects demand to peak in 2024 and forecasts the sector’s carbon emissions to peak in 2025.
(Reports by Min Zhang and Tom Daly. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)