Japan Copper-Cable Shipments Drop for Fifth Month on Demand

Japan’s copper wire and cable shipments fell 2.9 percent in April from a year earlier, slumping for a fifth month on subdued demand even after the country’s economy expanded the most in a year last quarter.

Shipments totaled 54,400 metric tons last month, compared with 56,036 tons a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said today in a statement. Deliveries were 58,514 tons in March, down 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

Japan’s gross domestic product rose an annualized 3.5 percent, a Cabinet Office release showed on May 16. Private consumption, making up 60 percent of GDP, contributed 2.3 percentage points to the jump. The report showed that while consumers -- aided by a stock-market surge -- are responding to the reflation campaign mounted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bank of Japan chief Haruhiko Kuroda, companies remain cautious.

“The cable industry’s recovery is normally lagging behind consumers, such as producers of cars, electric-machinery and electronics,” said Keiichi Ohki, an official at the association’s research department. “We may have to wait a bit longer to see signs of a recovery in demand this year.”

Copper-cable shipments to the export industry dropped 21.1 percent in April from a year earlier, while those to automakers fell 18.2 percent and deliveries to the electric-machinery industry declined 7.9 percent, the association said.

The Japanese currency has fallen 19 percent against the dollar this year amid Abe’s calls for aggressive monetary easing to end deflation. The yen touched 103.31 on May 17, the weakest level since October 2008.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,308 a ton at 11:55 a.m. in Tokyo after declining 7.9 percent this year.