China's copper stockpile may slow imports

08:28, April 23, 2010      

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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson said there's speculation that copper inventories may increase in China and damp demand for the metal later this year.

"The copper market is strongly supported by China," Adkerson said on a conference call after releasing first-quarter earnings. "Speculation is that some of those imports are going into warehouses and that might affect imports later in the year."

Stockpiles monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have surged 95 percent in 2010, raising concern that exports of the industrial metal to China may slow. Shipments into China, the world's largest consumer of the metal, jumped 53 percent in March from February, data showed on Thursday.

"There's a lot of questions about this relationship between imports and internal consumption," said Adkerson, CEO of the world's largest publicly traded copper producer. "Longer-range we're very optimistic about China."

Freeport, based in Phoenix, dropped $2.39, or 3 percent, to $78.41 at 4:15 pm in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have risen 93 percent in the last 12 months.

The share "sell-off is probably related to more macro concerns that some observers have related to China and also the strengthening US dollar", Anthony Rizzuto, a New York-based analyst with Dahlman Rose & Co, said.

Source: China Daily


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