Japan Copper Product Demand Slows Down in 1H

Japanese domestic shipment of electric wire and cable is estimated to total 884,000 tonnes of copper for fiscal 2007 ending March 2008 by Japanese 136 electric wire and cable makers those who belong to Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association, announced the association on Wednesday. The association revised down the estimation from 890,000 tonnes of copper announced in March 2007. Japanese domestic production of copper alloyed products is also estimated to decrease by 4.2% to 1 million tonnes from the original forecast announced in March 2007, according to Japan Copper & Brass Association.Electric wire and cable shipment was slower in the first half year of fiscal 2007 than originally expected especially for constructions, electric machines, digital appliances and exports. In the construction market, dealers and electric contractors tended to minimize the cable procurement due to the extremely high copper cost. Cable shipment declined for electric machines and appliances when the users have shifted their productive sites to overseas, domestic shipment of air conditioners was slow this summer and domestic automobile output became lower than originally estimated. Japanese cable export maintains strong for Middle East while relatively weak for other areas.Demand for copper alloyed products also slowed down in the first half of fiscal 2007, especially for brass bar and copper strip. Japan Copper & Brass Association originally estimated the domestic production totals to 1.0445 million tonnes for fiscal 2007 almost as flat as fiscal 2006. However, copper sheet and strip demand didn’t recover for semiconductors and connector pins. Semiconductor market entered inventory adjustment in late 2006 as well as digital appliances and cellular phones into which connector pins are much inserted. The export didn’t increase so much as expected, too.In the second half of fiscal 2007, the demand is expected to recover for both electric cables and copper alloyed products. Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association estimates the annual shipment would increase by 1.5% in fiscal 2007 compared with fiscal 2006 and represent year-to-year growth for 5 years in a row. As to copper alloyed products, some items are likely to regain favorable demand in the second half of fiscal 2007.