China Cuts Copper Imports to 17-Month Low While Exports Surge

China, the world’s biggest producer and user of refined copper, cut imports to the lowest level in 17 months amid low-season demand and rising domestic production. Exports jumped 76 percent from a month earlier.

Purchases of refined metal fell for a fourth month to 251,235 metric tons in July from 305,304 tons in June and 259,733 tons a year earlier, according to customs Wednesday. That’s the lowest since February 2015. Outbound cargoes were 75,007 tons from 42,596 tons in June and 14,937 tons in July 2015.

Imports receded amid lower summer demand and as smelters stepped up production after increases in margins. Purchases were still 20 percent higher in the first seven months from a year earlier, the data showed, after record shipments in the first half on the back of a credit boom and property rebound.

Refined copper output in China rose to 722,000 tons in July, the highest in at least five months, from 686,000 tons in June and 664,000 tons in the same month last year, government data showed last week. Production gained 7.9 percent in the first seven months.

— With assistance by Winnie Zhu

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