Slow Japan Copper Sheet, Strip Demand for Lead Frame

Japanese demand for copper sheet and strip is slow for semiconductor lead frame. The copper products makers’ operating rate is 70-80% when the demand is slow for finished products including cell phone and personal computer. The copper products industry expects the demand recovers after summer. The finished products’ inventory started to increase since late 2006. The copper products order started to decrease early 2007. The copper products demand level has kept low level through the year. A copper industry source said especially cell phone demand accelerates to decrease. The copper industry sees the relative higher personal computer demand also slowed down since May when consumers renewed the computer after release of new models. The copper strip makers started to decrease the output under longer slump though they kept operation level to ship order backlog before. Kobe Steel group’s lead frame maker, Shinko Leadmikk reduced the operation level to 70-80% recently. The copper industry expects the slow demand continues at least by the end of August. However, the industry expects the demand could recover after the summer when basic economy fundamentals keep firm.