Official unaware of large Shanghai copper stocks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 1996, 12:00am

An official of the China National Nonferrous Metals Industry Corp (CNNC) has said he was unaware of any large stocks of imported copper being held in bonded warehouses in Shanghai.

Wang Zhongkui, the market director of CNNC's Techno-Economic Research Institute, said he had no information on reports of up to 100,000 tonnes of copper in storage in Shanghai after being channelled into China.

But he said it was possible that traders were taking advantage of the difference between Chinese domestic copper prices and those on the international market.

Benchmark three-month copper was traded at US$2,036 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange yesterday, while the same quantity of metal for February delivery was fetching an even much higher $2,363 a tonne on the Shanghai futures exchange.

'I am unaware of any large-scale purchasing by the government,' Mr Wang told a metals conference in Beijing.

'It is possible', he added however, saying that many Chinese enterprises had the right to bring in copper and were in a position to benefit from price differentials.

Western traders and merchants said in August that large stocks of refined copper with possible links to Sumitomo Corp had been channelled into China by the China National Nonferrous Metals Import and Export Corp (CNIEC).

The ownership of up to 100,000 tonnes being held in Shanghai bonded warehouses was still unclear, they said.

Sumitomo declined to comment, while CNIEC and Chinese traders said they had not heard of the shipments and stocks.