Japan’s Copper-Alloy Product Output Climbs for Third Month

Japan’s output of copper and copper-alloy fabricated products rose 2.9 percent in April from a month earlier, increasing for a third month as the country’s economy expanded the most in a year last quarter.

Production, including sheets and tubes, was 65,210 metric tons last month, compared with 63,374 tons a month earlier, the Japan Copper & Brass Association said today. It fell 3.8 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 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.

“In April, we could see a sign of benefit from the yen’s weakness on demand in some industries,” said Keizo Tani, association research manager. “Copper-alloy products for semiconductors appear to have been getting an edge in competition, while those for vehicles remained subdued.”

The Japanese currency has fallen 18 percent against the dollar this year amid Abe’s calls for aggressive monetary easing to end deflation. The yen touched 103.74 on May 22, the weakest level since October 2008.

Copper wire and cable shipments fell 2.9 percent to 54,400 tons in April from a year earlier, declining for a fifth month, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said on May 20. Deliveries were 58,514 tons in March, down 2.4 percent from a year earlier.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,327.50 a ton at 12:09 p.m. in Tokyo. The metal has retreated 7.6 percent this year.