Japan Rolled Copper Output Rises in May

Japanese rolled copper production was 83,090 tonnes at a quick estimation in May, increasing by 0.2% from a year earlier, according to Japan Copper and Brass Association. The production represented year-on-year increase for 2 months in a row. The output increased for copper strips, brass strips and phosphor bronze strips while decreased for brass bars and copper tubes.

The copper strip production increased by 5.5% to 22,300 tonnes in May from a year earlier. Japanese copper strip makers are in full productions with order backlogs for automotive connective pins. On the other hand, the demand is relatively slow from semiconductor mounting applications, especially from low grade leadframes.

The brass strip production increased by 11.7% to 11,271 tonnes in May from a year ago. The demand is steady from automotive connector pins. The phosphor bronze strip output was 4,664 tonnes in May, increasing by 0.7% year-on-year. The demand was firm from digital applications such as cellular phones and personal computers.

The brass bar production decreased by 4% to 18,322 tonnes in May from a year earlier. The production showed the decrease though which represented the year-on-year increase in April after 16 months. The output volume in May was the secondly lowest in 2008 following 18,042 tonnes in January.

The copper tube output was 14,190 tonnes in May, down by 9.7% year-on-year. The demand remarkably declined from air conditioners and refrigerant plumbing fixtures due to slower new housing starts.

See an attached table.