China has taken up an increasingly larger proportion in the world’s copper consumption. In 2015, the consumption accounted for 51%, while the number was less than 25% in 2003. It’s clear that China has a huge impact on the global copper market.
By the end of 2015, the production capacity of crude copper in China reached 6.3 million tons; electrolytic copper reached 9.6 million tons; copper products reached 18 million tons. In 2016, the production volume of refined copper in China reached 8.44 million, up by 6% YOY.
According to CRI analysis, since the 1990s, due to fast economic development, rapid construction of urban infrastructure, the manufacturing center moving to China and the huge foreign capital inflow, the consumption of copper in China has been increasing rapidly. China has now become the world’s largest copper consumer and its consumption mainly concentrated on electric power, household appliances, transportation, construction and electronics. Meanwhile, with the implementation of the planning for national strategic emerging industry development, copper has met new sources of demand in new-energy automobiles and new materials.
China’s copper consumption has been rising fast for many years. However, due to the slow growth of the output of copper mines and decreased production of scrap copper, Chinese refined copper fails to catch up with increased consumption, forcing China to import a great number of copper products every year. For example, in 2015, China imported 9 million tons of copper, in which copper concentrate was about 13 million tons; refined copper was 3.7 million tons; and crude copper was 3.6 million tons.