(Corrects final paragraph to show exports were at, not up, 4.35 million tonnes)
* Unwrought copper imports highest since December 2016
* Copper concentrate imports hit new record high
* Aluminium exports rebound after four months of declines
BEIJING, Dec 8 (Reuters) - China’s unwrought copper imports rose by more than 40 percent in November from the previous month, in a sign that winter production restrictions at the world’s top copper consuming country are driving up shipments of overseas metal.
Arrivals of unwrought copper, which includes anode, refined, and semi-finished copper products stood at 470,000 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said Friday, the highest level since December 2016.
That is up 42.3 percent from 330,000 tonnes in October and up 23.7 percent from 380,000 tonnes in November 2016.
Chinese copper smelters such as Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group cut back production last month to comply with environmental protection measures.
Unwrought copper imports for the first 11 months of 2017 were still down 5 percent on a year earlier at 4.24 million tonnes, customs said. The 2017 total is set to fall short of the record 4.94 million tonnes of imports in 2016 after a weak first half of the year.
“Overall the market still feels bullish,” said NAB analyst Ami Li.
“Major exchange stock levels are still low and demand keeps growing. I think we’ll probably see a mid-range number in December based on still quite optimistic sentiment and good demand outlook and no supply disruptions.”
Copper concentrate imports rose 0.1 percent year on year to a new record high of 1.78 million tonnes in November. That was also up 29.9 percent from October.
Meanwhile, China’s exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products rebounded in November after four straight months of declines.
Exports stood at 380,000 tonnes, up 8.6 percent from 350,000 tonnes in October and flat on a year earlier.
China’s aluminium exports had been in freefall since hitting 460,000 tonnes in May and June as punitives duties imposed by Washington on aluminium foil made shipments to the key U.S. market unviable.
Exports were at 4.35 million tonnes in January-November, up 3.7 percent year on year, customs said. (Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Richard Pullin)