Japan Phosphor Bronze Production Returns to 3,000t in May

Japanese phosphor bronze production is recovering which is mainly used for connectors in telecom mobiles and consumer electronics. The quickly estimated production was 3,159 tonnes in May that exceeded 3,000 tonnes for the first time since November 2011, announced by Japan Copper and Brass Association on Tuesday.

The production deteriorated to 2,570 tonnes in February 2012 from 3,637 tonnes in May 2011 due to the demand downturn for liquid crystal panel TVs and other home appliances. The production rebounded in March and continued to increase for 3 months in a row when inventory adjustment advanced. Especially the export was quickly estimated at 962 tonnes in May, almost as much as 984 tonnes in the same month of 2011.

Japanese production of other copper and copper alloy products slowed down in May. The association estimated the total production decreased by 10% to 65,320 tonnes in May from a year earlier. There were less business days in May than usual months due to national long holidays while output volumes were low for copper strip and brass bar.

Copper strip production was quickly estimated to decrease by 8.7% to 19,060 tonnes in May from a year earlier. The demand maintained weak for lead frame though the production had improved from current bottom at 16,615 tonnes in January 2012. Brass bar production was estimated to decrease by 11% to 14,940 tonnes. The volume showed below 15,000 tonnes after 4 months due to totally weak demand condition.

Copper tube production kept almost flat at 10,560 tonnes in May compared with the previous month. The volume was 16% year-to-year lower because of Hitachi Cable’s withdrawal from domestic copper tube business. Other 3 major copper tube makers continued almost full operations. Brass bar production was estimated to decrease by 0.8% to 8,356 tonnes from a year earlier. The demand was steady for automotive donnectors.