China imported a record 202,955 tons of refined copper in March, a surge of nearly 150 percent over March 2006, sources with the China Association of Nonferrous Metals Industry said on Saturday.
A total of 480,000 tons was imported in the first quarter, three times up on the same period in 2006.
China also imported 776,576 tons of unforged copper and copper products in the January-March period, up 58 percent from the year-earlier level.
The first quarter also saw imports of scrap copper inch up by four percent to 1.02 million tons. The total included 354,226 tons bought in March, up 29 percent.
Industry specialists say China's annual copper consumption will continue to grow at around 7.5 percent per year in the next few years to total 6.5 million tons, including five million tons of refined copper.