Japan Copper-Alloy Product Output Rises for Second Month

Japan’s output of copper and copper-alloy fabricated products climbed 0.8 percent in August from a year earlier, gaining for a second month as demand for exports increased, an industry group said.

Production, including sheets and tubes, was 58,590 metric tons last month, compared with 58,110 tons a year ago, the Japan Copper & Brass Association said today, citing preliminary data. Output was 69,785 tons in July, up 1.8 percent from a year ago.

Japan’s total exports increased the most since 2010 in August, boosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth drive even as rising energy costs extended the streak of trade deficits to the longest since 1980. Exports rose 14.7 percent from a year earlier, the sixth straight advance, a Finance Ministry report showed yesterday. The trade gap was 960.3 billion yen ($9.7 billion).

“Although it’s not a big output increase in August, this is showing improvement for the second half,” said Keizo Tani, a research manager at the association. Production for exports rose 13 percent last month from a year earlier, while output for domestic consumption fell 1.6 percent, the industry group said.

The association cut its demand estimate for the year ending March 2014 to 793,200 tons from a March projection of 800,500 tons. Production totaled 759,051 tons in the previous year.

The country’s copper wire and cable shipments declined 1.4 percent in August to 54,900 tons from a year earlier, advancing for the fourth straight month, the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers’ Association said today. Shipments totaled 61,688 tons in July, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier, data showed.

Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange was little changed at $7,332 a ton at 11:37 a.m. in Tokyo and has dropped 7.6 percent this year.

(Adds industry official comment in fourth paragraph.)
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