Japan Copper-Cable Shipments Drop as Automaker Demand Slows

Japan’s copper wire and cable shipments declined 2.7 percent in January, decreasing for a second month as demand from the auto, electric-machinery and export industries slowed, an industry group said.

Shipments totaled 54,500 metric tons last month, compared with 56,002 tons a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said today in an e-mailed statement. Deliveries were 56,733 tons in December, down 3.4 percent from a year earlier.

Copper in London has declined 1.8 percent in the past year. Japan’s trade deficit swelled to a record 1.63 trillion yen ($17.4 billion) on energy imports and a weaker yen, highlighting one cost of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies that are driving down the currency.

“Benefits from a weaker yen on exports have yet to be felt,” said Keiichi Ohki, an official at the association’s research department. “We may see signs of a recovery in demand from the start of the new fiscal year in April.”

Copper-cable shipments to the export industry dropped 28.2 percent to 1,100 tons in January from a year earlier, those to automakers fell 15.1 percent to 5,300 tons, while deliveries to the electric-machinery industry declined 4.1 percent to 12,200 tons, the association said. Shipments totaled 693,580 tons in 2012, up 1.9 percent from 680,911 tons in 2011.

The Japanese currency has fallen more than 14 percent against the dollar in the past three months amid Abe’s calls for aggressive monetary easing to end deflation. The yen touched 94.46 on Feb. 11, the lowest level since May 2010.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.5 percent to $8,087.75 a ton at 11:44 a.m. in Tokyo, gaining for the first time in four days.

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