High copper prices will persist for many years, said Diego Hernandez, chief executive officer of Codelco. [Photo / China Daily]NEW YORK - Chinese copper imports in June may jump 25 percent compared with April as consumption and investment demand rise, said Jesse Jiang, the manager of copper research at Beijing Antaike Information Development Company.
Refined-copper imports by China may rebound to 200,000 tons this month from 160,236 tons in April, Jiang said on Wednesday.
"Investors play an important role in the copper market, but there is also real demand from end-users," Jiang said. The power sector, government-subsidized housing and transportation will continue to drive metal usage, he said.
High copper prices will last for "a substantial number of years" because of rising demand from China and other developing economies, said Diego Hernandez, the chief executive officer of Chile's Codelco on Wednesday.
"The real demand is there in the medium and long term," Hernandez said.
"That should keep the global balance tight."
Copper prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange are improving compared with the London Metal Exchange (LME) as the yuan appreciates against the dollar, adding to import demand, Antaike's Jiang said.
On the LME, three-month delivery for copper has dropped 11 percent from a record $10,190 a ton on Feb 15. In Shanghai, the most-active contract fell 12 percent in the same period. On June 1, the yuan reached the strongest against the dollar since China unified official and market exchange rates at the end of 1993.
Copper prices are forecast to rise to a record $12,000 by the end of the year as China's imports rebound, Nicholas Snowdon, a London-based analyst at Barclays Capital, said.
Stockpiles in bonded warehouses fell to between 350,000 and 400,000 tons at the beginning of this month from 600,000 to 700,000 tons in March, Barclays said in a report. Inventories monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have plunged 51 percent since mid-March.
"The Chinese market is awakening from the destocking cycle that lasted nine months," Snowdon said. "Their backyard inventories have been completely depleted. By July, we will begin to see a steady increase in imports."