China’s imports of copper scrap dropped by 72pc, while imports of aluminium scrap dropped by 80pc in December from a year ago amid strict import restrictions issued by China in the last quarter of 2019.
China imported 70,000mt of copper scrap in December, down by 180,000mt from a year ago, and imported 30,000mt of aluminium scrap, down by 120,000mt from December 2018.
In 2019, copper and aluminium scrap imports into China also dropped, as the country imported 1.49mn mt of copper scrap, down from 2.41mn mt in 2018 and 1.39mn mt of aluminium scrap, down from 1.57mn mt.
Aluminium alloy market in China was also affected by scrap import restrictions as it created a shortage of aluminium scrap. Exports of aluminium alloy dropped by 35.3pc or 20,160mt as China exported 36,990mt in December. However, exports of aluminium alloy in 2019 rose by 2.7pc or 15,208mt from the previous year.
China’s imports of aluminium alloy also surged in December by 100.8pc or 35,635mt from a year ago, as China faced a shortage of secondary raw material. Imports of aluminium alloy in 2019 also jumped by 46pc or 91,904mt.
Imports of copper and aluminium scrap are expected to rise in the first quarter of 2020 as China increased import quota restrictions to 297,451mt and 283,009mt of copper and aluminium scrap, respectively. From July 1, with the reclassification of high-grade copper and aluminium scrap as resources, scrap can be imported into China without restrictions in the second half of 2020.