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Japan’s Copper-Alloy Output May Rise 4% in 2013 on Weaker Yen

Japan’s output of copper and copper-alloy fabricated products may increase about 4 percent in 2013, rising for the first time in three years on the nation’s effort to revive its economy and to weaken the yen.

Production, including sheets and tubes, is estimated to reach slightly over 800,000 metric tons in calendar 2013, Tetsu Takahashi, chairman of the Japan Copper & Brass Association, said today in Tokyo. The country’s output may total about 770,000 tons in 2012, the second straight yearly drop and the lowest level since 2009, he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed in a New Year message to focus his newly appointed Cabinet’s efforts on reviving the country’s economy, which has shrunk almost 10 percent over the past half-decade. The Japanese currency in 2012 had its biggest annual decline in seven years, after reaching a postwar high in 2011 that eroded the competitiveness of the country’s exporters.

“We expect some support for demand in 2013 from the new government’s effort to rebuild after the 2011 earthquake and the weaker yen as well as a recovery in Japanese car sales in China,” said Takahashi, who is also vice president of Kobe Steel Ltd. An increase in sales of tablet computers reduced demand for copper-alloy products last year, he said.

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