Copper demand in China, the world’s biggest user of the metal found in pipes and wires, is expected to improve next year as the economy recovers, according to Aurubis AG, the second-largest refined producer.
“China had a difficult year but when we look forward, we see the economic indicators are turning more positive,” Stefan Boel, a board member, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Shanghai, where he’s attending a conference. The country will remain the dominant factor in the market, said Boel, who’s responsible for copper products at the Hamburg-based company.
The world’s second-largest economy, which accounts for 41 percent of copper demand, is poised to expand 7.7 percent this year, the weakest pace since 1999, based on the median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. A preliminary purchasing managers’ index for November from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics signaled the first expansion in 13 months.
“There’s more confidence from purchasing managers here and our sales are quite positive,” Boel told Susan Li on “Asia Edge” today. “There’s a very solid interest in our copper products for next year.”
Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange, the global benchmark, has advanced 2.4 percent this year and traded at $7,785.25 a metric ton at 5:53 p.m. in Shanghai. The price dropped 21 percent in 2011 as China’s economy slowed and Europe battled the debt crisis.
Other data from China have shown signs of a pickup. Industrial output climbed in October at the fastest pace in five months, while retail sales and exports rose more than estimated. Economic growth may quicken to 8.1 percent in 2013, according to the median of analysts’ forecasts tracked by Bloomberg.
The growth potential in China for copper usage remains huge, Jerry Jiao, general manager of Minmetals Nonferrous Metals Co., told the conference. Demand growth momentum will continue until about 2023, he said. The company is a unit of China Minmetals Corp., the nation’s biggest state-owned metals trader.
Aurubis’ profit fell 59 percent to 32.5 million euros ($42 million) in the three months to June as the European crisis, slowing growth in China and a stalled recovery in the U.S. weakened demand. Revenue rose 4 percent to 3.4 billion euros.