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Copper Imports by China Gain for a Fifth Month on Arbitrage

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Refined copper imports by China, the biggest user, gained for a fifth month in October, as favorable arbitrage between London and Shanghai made it profitable to ship in the metal.

Shipments were 295,341 metric tons in October, the customs agency said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with 275,499 tons in September, and 169,897 tons a year ago, according to Bloomberg data.

Copper has fallen more than 20 percent into a bear market since reaching a record $10,190 a ton in February amid mounting concern that Europe’s debt crisis will curb demand in the region that accounts for about 19 percent of global consumption.

“Most Chinese buyers are price sensitive,” said CRU International Ltd. analyst Grace Qu. Imports rose mainly because of favorable arbitrage opportunities, Qu said.

Three-month delivery copper on the London Metal Exchange fell 0.8 percent to $7,464.75 a ton at 3:29 p.m. in Tokyo after losing 1.5 percent last week, the third straight weekly drop.

The arrivals increased to the highest level since April 2010 and total imports in January-October fell 15 percent to 2.1 million tons, according to the customs department. Imports of primary aluminum were 9,650 tons, according to customs.

Editors: Richard Dobson, Jake Lloyd-Smith

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net

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