Bloomberg News

Copper-Alloy Product Output in Japan Falls for Fourth Month

October 26, 2011

(Adds industry official comment in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s output of copper and copper- alloy fabricated products, including sheets and tubes, slumped 6.8 percent in September from a year ago, falling for a fourth month as demand for exports plunged, an industry group said.

Production, including sheets and tubes, was 68,550 metric tons last month, compared with 73,581 tons a year earlier, the Japan Copper & Brass Association said today, citing preliminary data. Output totaled 62,214 tons in August, down from 65,743 tons a year ago.

Japan’s government has downgraded its assessment of the economy for the first time since April as the strengthening yen and slowing global growth weighed on the prospects for an export-driven recovery. The Cabinet Office lowered its evaluation of consumer spending, exports and industrial production, it said in its monthly report on Oct. 17.

“While we saw a recovery in output for the auto industry from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, demand from electronics and semiconductor industries was lower than expected following slowing sales of flat-screen televisions,” said Keizo Tani, association research manager. “Overall, output was also pressured from dwindling exports.”

Output for domestic consumption fell 2.5 percent to 57,926 tons in September, while that for exports plunged 25.1 percent to 10,624 tons, the association said. Production declined 3.4 percent to 423,222 tons for the six months to Sept. 30 from the same period a year earlier, it said.

Yen Gains

The yen held gains after Europe’s debt turmoil spurred demand for a refuge, boosting the currency to a post-World War II record versus the dollar yesterday. The Japanese currency traded at 76.04 per dollar as of 11:43 a.m. Tokyo time from 76.09 in New York yesterday, when it climbed to a record 75.74.

Separately, the country’s copper wire and cable shipments, including exports and domestic business, declined 1.6 percent to 59,500 tons in September from a year earlier, the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers’ Association said Oct. 20. This compared with shipments of 53,895 tons in August, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier.

Shipments of copper wires and cables declined 1.4 percent to 330,821 tons for the six months to Sept. 31 from the same period a year earlier, the association said. In the previous six months to March 31, shipments were 347,100 tons, the data showed.

Copper for three-month delivery gained 1.7 percent to $7,656.75 per ton. Prices reached a record $10,190 on Feb. 15.

--Editors: Richard Dobson, Jarrett Banks

To contact the reporters on this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at jhur1@bloomberg.net; Ichiro Suzuki in Tokyo at isuzuki@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net


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