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Japan’s Copper-Alloy Demand Seen Little Changed as Tax Increases

Japan’s demand for copper and copper-alloy products may be little changed in the 12 months starting April 1, the Japan Copper & Brass Association said.

Demand for products, including sheets and tubes, may rise 0.7 percent to 800,700 metric tons, compared with estimated 795,000 tons for this fiscal year, according to the association.

“We will see production gradually recover from July and it will keep the pace in the second half,” Keizo Tani, a research manager at the association, said at a briefing today. He said a drop in demand would be unavoidable in the quarter starting April 1, when the government increases sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent.

Production rose 7.3 percent to 65,550 tons in February from a year earlier, gaining for an eighth month, the association said today, citing preliminary data. In January, output was 64,548 tons, up 14 percent from a year ago.

Japan’s gross domestic product grew an annualized 0.7 percent in the three months through December from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office said March 10. That was less than a preliminary estimate of 1 percent and a 0.9 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange slid 0.4 percent to $6,454 a ton at 1:18 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal has declined 12 percent this year.

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