China's Dominance As a Global Consumer and Producer of Copper
Executive Briefings on Trade (USITC), 2012
2 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2019
Date Written: August 1, 2012
China is now the world’s largest consumer and producer of copper. Its demand for the commodity has soared in tandem with the country’s industrialization process, given copper’s extensive use in infrastructure (e.g., plumbing, telecommunication wiring, and building materials) and manufacturing equipment (e.g., electric power generation and transmission equipment). To meet its growing copper demand over the last decade, China has imported increasing amounts of copper ores (mostly from Latin America) and copper waste/scrap (mostly from the United States) for domestic processing, which is either locally consumed or re-exported. Given China’s dominance as both a global consumer and supplier of copper, changes in China’s domestic market conditions can markedly influence copper’s world price – as evidenced by the commodity’s recent price decreases that were triggered by deteriorating Chinese property market conditions. Understanding China’s role on global copper markets is relevant for U.S. firms, since the United States is the world’s largest supplier of copper waste/scrap, and copper waste/scrap now represents the United States’ third-largest export to China.
Keywords: China, copper
JEL Classification: E00, F00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation