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Japan Copper-Cable Shipments Slump as Demand Stays Subdued

Japan’s copper wire and cable shipments fell 6.2 percent in February from a year earlier, dropping for a third month as demand from the auto, electric-machinery and export industries remained subdued.

Shipments were 55,700 metric tons last month, compared with 59,398 tons a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said today in a statement. Deliveries were 54,503 tons in January, down 2.7 percent from a year earlier.

Japan’s machinery orders plunged 13 percent in January, the biggest decline in eight months, signaling limits on corporate investment as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tries to drive an economic revival. The nation returned to growth in the fourth quarter as the yen began to slide, bolstering Abe’s campaign to end 15 years of deflation and revive the economy.

“The government’s efforts to boost the economy and the weaker yen’s benefits have yet to be felt in the industry,” said Keiichi Ohki, an official at the association’s research department. “We may see signs of a recovery in demand later this year -- a bit slower than other industries.”

Copper-cable shipments to the export industry dropped 54.9 percent in February from a year earlier, those to automakers fell 17.3 percent, while deliveries to the electric-machinery industry declined 7.8 percent, the association said.

The Japanese currency has fallen 10 percent against the dollar this year amid Abe’s calls for aggressive monetary easing to end deflation. The yen touched 96.71 on March 12, the weakest level since August 2009.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.3 percent to $7,598.25 a ton at 11:21 a.m. in Tokyo, gaining for the first time in three days. The metal has declined 4.2 percent this year.

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