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China’s copper scrap import cut by half

China will limit the import of copper scrap to a maximum of 240 000 tonnes in the third quarter of 2019, according to an official list of quotas, media reports and information from members, says the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR).

According to BIR, this new announcement on the copper scrap import quota represents the volume of high quality scrap – both No1 and No2 scrap, including birch, cliff, candy and millberry – that will be allowed into the country. Up until July, China’s category-6 copper scrap importers had not been restricted by any quotas.

Steep fall in volumes

In 2018, China imported a total 2.4 million tonnes of copper scrap, a quarterly average of approximately 600 000 tonnes. This means that ‘the third-quarter 2019 import quota of 240 429 tonnes represents only 40% of the quarterly average import volume of 2018,’ says BIR.

Total ban on non-ferrous scrap? 

The world recycling organisation adds that, according to unconfirmed sources, the total volume of all non-ferrous scrap allowed is believed to be 310 000 tonnes for the third quarter of 2019. ‘Given the average shipping time of 3-6 weeks, Chinese importers are expected to stop buying non-ferrous scrap at the beginning of July.’

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