Weak Demand for Copper Alloy Products in Industrial Fields

Market demand maintains weak for copper alloy products such as plate, busbar and bar those which are used mainly in industrial fields. The demand was expected to increase for redevelopment of disaster areas hit by the Japan Earthquake. However, Tokyo based dealer source said the demand increased very temporarily just after the earthquake and turned downward after the momentary boom. The demand is also weak for overseas plants due to hyper-strong yen trend.

Copper and copper alloy plates and bars are mainly used for heavy electric facilities as well as for industrial facilities including electric power generation and transmission and semiconductor manufacturing equipments. The demand was expected to increase for restoration and reconstruction of buildings, plants, electrical substations and telecommunication bases in disaster areas of North Japan.

The orders sharply increased from the users and wholesalers just after the earthquake in mid March through April. One copper plate maker said the production volume temporarily increased by about 20% compared with the pre-disaster level. However, the momentary boom settled down in mid May and the orders gradually decreased by August.

The demand seems to be hitting bottom in September. Car makers and related component makers are aggressively raising operation rate and then the demand is generating for expendable parts in production facilities. Meanwhile, the demand is not as strong as the pre-disaster level yet. One copper alloy product dealer in Tokyo is concerned that the demand may decrease for exporting plant machines and cars due to hyper-strong yen trend against US dollar.