* June shipments post month-on-month rise of 12.9 pct
* Shipments continue gradual recovery since January 2009 (Adds details)
TOKYO July 23 (Reuters) – Japanese copper wire and cable shipments in June rose 5 percent from a year earlier to an estimated 56,100 tonnes, reflecting firming demand, industry data showed on Friday.
It was up 12.9 percent from 49,708 tonnes in May, data from the Japanese Electric Wire and Cable Makers’ Association showed.
Shipments have been recovering gradually since January 2009 when demand for copper, used extensively in utensils, construction materials and computer chips and often seen as a measure of economic activity, plunged as automakers cut output to cope with the economic crisis.
Demand has now recovered to around 80 percent of pre-crisis levels mainly due to brisk domestic demand in electronics and automobile sectors and in China, but persistent deflationary pressure in Japan and sluggishness in the construction sector, a major consumer of the metal, keep the outlook uncertain.
There is also a risk that demand in China, the world’s top copper consumer and producer, may slow in the October-March second half of fiscal 2010/11, industry officials have said.
Japan’s refined copper exports fell 19 percent in May from a year earlier to 49,248 tonnes, with China’s share shrinking to 41 percent from nearly half in April. [ID:nTOE65S07S]
Refined copper output in China hit record highs in June, but the pace of growth in the second half of the year for the economy and refined copper production may slow. China’s refined copper production accounts for about 80 percent of actual domestic consumption, with the rest met by imports. [ID:nTOE66D07D]
China’s refined copper imports dived 24.2 percent in June from May, as imports returned to real conditions to cover a domestic deficit, with imports in the second half seen lower than the first half. [ID:nTOE66K02T]
Members of the cable makers’ association include Furukawa Electric (5801.T), Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (5802.T), Fujikura Ltd (5803.T), Hitachi Cable Ltd (5812.T) and SWCC Showa Holdings Co Ltd (5805.T). (Reporting by Risa Maeda and Chikako Mogi; Editing by Michael Watson)