The 5 largest copper importers in the world

China, the United States, Germany, Italy and South Korea were the world’s top five copper importers in 2021, accounting for 50.3% of those global purchases together.

The world’s copper resources are mainly in South America and Australia, while China is the world’s largest copper consumer, with the main copper-consuming segments being electricity and electronics, infrastructure construction and household appliances, according to the Chinese China Molybdenum.

Outperforming all other countries, China imported $58.867 million worth of copper and its manufactures in 2021, up 21% year-on-year.

According to the latest data from Wood Mackenzie, the world production volume of copper amounted to approximately 24.58 million tons in 2021, which represents a year-on-year advance of 3.5%, while the demand was approximately 24.45 million tons, which represents a growth of 4.1 year on year.

China Molybdenum indicated that some additional production capacity was released in 2021, despite a slight delay in the progress of some copper projects due to bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Although the growth on the demand side was due to the low base in 2020, the rapid recovery of the world economy from the pandemic and the economic stimulus policies of many countries were favorable for copper consumption.

Copper importers

Among the largest copper producing companies in the world are: Codelco, BHP. Freeport McMoRan, Glencore and Southern Copper.

After China, the other largest copper importers in the world in 2021 were the United States (16.223 million dollars, +79%), Germany (14.230 million, +41%), Italy (10.748 million, +80%) and South Korea (8.662 million, +71 percent).

China Molybdenum mainly sells copper cathodes and copper concentrates to international markets.

In 2021, the LME annual average copper spot settlement price was $9,317 per tonne, representing a year-on-year increase of 50.6 percent.

Hit by global supply chain disruptions, the LME spot copper premium peaked at over $1,000 per tonne in 2021, driving the LME spot settlement price to hit second spot highest throughout the year at 10,652 per tonne in mid-October.

With higher expectation in inflation overseas, the USD index rebounded and the copper price oscillated at
high levels. In the fourth quarter, the domestic consumption resumed under the circumstance of ensured
supply and stable price, the copper scrap supply tightened up, and the consumption of refined copper
increased, while the rapid decline in inventories supported copper prices in spite of the macro weakness


Redacción Opportimes