By Julian Luk
LONDON (Reuters) – The Shanghai copper trading arm of China’s Amer International Group is closing its order book due to financial pressure from the country’s troubled property sector, a huge consumer of the metal, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Copper traders in China have come under pressure in the past year from a crisis in its property sector, which is estimated to account for roughly a quarter of an economy that accounts for half of global copper demand.
The sources said Amer’s Shanghai trading unit, Arc Resources, was winding up its order book, and that the copper trader had terminated many contracts with existing customers and suppliers for the remainder of 2023.
Amer International did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment. Arc Resources could not be reached.
Arc Resources buys copper for its parent and traded 300,000 tons of copper last year, one of the sources said, making it one of China’s largest traders of the metal. The country is this year forecast to consume some 13 million metric tons of copper.
Amer International, a conglomerate with revenues of more than $90 billion last year, owns hundreds of copper rod mills across China that have a nameplate capacity to process over 2 million tonnes of copper cathodes annually.
Two of the sources with knowledge of the matter said less than 40% of Amer’s capacity is being utilised.
One of the sources told Reuters he recently received a request from Arc Resources to help find buyers for Africa-origin copper cathodes that the Amer unit used to sell to China.
A source supplying Amer’s copper rod mill in north west China also received a request from the company to divert its contractual tonnages of copper for November and December.
Arc Resources traded approximately 500,000 tonnes of copper cathode in 2017, mainly on the spot market.
(Reporting by Julian Luk; Editing by Jan Harvey)