Japan H1 copper output to edge lower due to maintenance plans
TOKYO, April 6 (Reuters) - Japan's copper output is expected to fall 0.6 percent in the first half of fiscal 2015/16 from April to September compared with a year earlier, Reuters calculations from plans outlined by smelters showed, affected by maintenance plans. Lower output from the world's No.3 copper refiner may support copper prices, which have recovered 12 percent since a Jan. 26 low, helped by mine closures in key producer Chile due to heavy rain and a slow pick-up in seasonal demand from top consumer China. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, Japan's No.2 copper producer, plans a 6.7 percent cut in copper output for the six months as it starts to wind down for a 25-day maintenance at Toyo Smelter & Refinery in Ehime, western Japan, from late October. Furukawa Co Ltd sees a 2.6 percent fall in output for the first half from the same period a year ago, when it boosted output ahead of maintenance in the second half. But the country's top copper smelter, Pan Pacific Copper (PPC), a unit of JX Holdings Inc, said it aimed to boost output by 1.9 percent for the six months. "Domestic demand in the construction segment is fairly strong on the back of redevelopment projects in Tokyo metropolitan area and reconstruction projects in northeastern Japan," PPC spokesman Yusuke Handa said. Japan's northeastern region was ravaged by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Japanese copper demand has been recovering, with urban development projects and the refurbishment of old infrastructure to withstand earthquakes boosting appetite for electric wire. Last month the Japanese Electric Wire & Cable Makers' Association forecast a 0.4 percent rise in wire supply from Japanese factories in fiscal 2015/16 to 725,000 tonnes, helped by stable construction demand. PPC, which exports about 43-45 percent of its output, also sees firm demand for exports to China and Southeast Asia. Mitsubishi Materials Corp plans a 4.6 percent increase in its output, while DOWA Holdings Co Ltd and Nittetsu Mining Co Ltd expect flat output. Below are the production plans for April-September, compared with year-earlier output, of non-ferrous metals from PPC, Sumitomo Metal, Mitsubishi Materials, DOWA, Furukawa, Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd, Nittetsu and Toho Zinc Co Ltd. H1 H2 H1 H1 Yr/Yr FY2015/16 FY2014/15 FY2014/15 COPPER Pan Pacific 289,700 292,400 284,200 1.94% Sumitomo 202,400 219,000 217,000 -6.73% Mitsubishi 164,268 141,798 157,080 4.58% DOWA 56,859 53,661 56,788 0.13% Furukawa 45,834 43,333 47045 -2.57% Nittetsu 23,106 20,385 23,106 0.00% TOTAL 782,167 772,439 786,919 -0.60% ZINC Mitsui 106,500 117,100 106,100 0.38% DOWA 85,639 94,995 83,389 2.70% Toho Zinc 46,500 59,307 53,533 -13.14% Sumitomo 23,000 26,500 23,500 -2.13% TOTAL 261,639 294,532 267,107 -2.05% LEAD Toho Zinc 47,800 40,502 47,908 -0.23% Mitsui 30,200 35,200 31,100 -2.89% Mitsubishi 13,638 14,958 14,130 -3.48% DOWA 4,097 6,785 7,588 -46.01% TOTAL 95,735 98,243 101,065 -5.27% NICKEL Sumitomo 31,700 29,500 28,200 12.41% FERRONICKEL Sumitomo 10,000 11,600 9,800 2.04% (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Alan Raybould)
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