Japan Copper Alloys Shipment to Reach 1 Million Tonnes in FY2006

Japanese shipment of copper and copper alloy fabricated products would increase by 2.8% to 1.027 million tonnes in fiscal 2006 ending March 2007 from the previous year, including the domestic shipment and the export, announced Japan Copper and Brass Association (JCBA) on Thursday. The shipment would exceed 1 million tonnes for the first time in 2 years thanks to the demand recovery of copper and phosphor bronze sheet and strip.Demand of copper sheet and strip would be firm for automobiles. Especially demand of coated copper strip would exceed makers’ production capacity through fiscal 2006 and it might become hard for makers to meet the delivery schedule. The demand could maintain brisk thanks to the increase of Japanese cars’ market share in the world, the firm demand of hybrid car and the material shift trend from brass to copper for sheet and strip.Brass bar demand would be active for auto parts and relatively good for gas appliances, writing materials and water faucet fittings in fiscal 2006. Demand of cadmium-free brass bar is increasing for electric components, cars, residences, boilers and export. Cadmium-free brass bar could represent around 40% of the whole brass bar demand in the near future.Copper pipe demand would weaken in fiscal 2006 when the Japanese out-in production of air conditioners would increase to 3.4 million units during October 2005-September 2006 from 3.2 million units during October 2004-September 2005. Demand would also weaken for refrigerators and building construction. Japanese copper pipe export keeps the decreasing trend with the increase of copper pipe production at overseas plants, though the export of raw copper pipe seems to recover in fiscal 2006. On the other hand, Japanese copper pipe import continues to increase.