* Comments suggest appetite for refined copper imports could
* China is world's No. 1 user of refined copper
HONG KONG, April 24 China, the world's top
consumer of metals, could become a net exporter of refined
copper in one to two years, said an executive at Minmetals
Non-Ferrous Metals Holding Limited.
The comments from the Chinese firm suggest the country's
appetite for buying refined copper from global markets may
recede, although it would still need to import copper
"We may see in one to two years, China becoming a net
exporter ... based on the industry's condition," Vice President
Xiaoguang Jin told reporters on the sidelines of an industry
conference in Hong Kong.
China's refined copper capacity is now sufficient to cover
domestic demand, and the country should also be able to sell its
copper output to global markets in future, Jin added.
China is the world's top user of refined copper, with Jin
saying its imports this year would be determined by financing
Given tight credit markets, imports of commodities such as
copper are often resold on the domestic market to raise funds
for higher yielding investments elsewhere in China.
(Reporting by Polly Yam and Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph