RPT-UPDATE 1-China copper imports rise 43.4 y/y in Oct, set annual peak in just 10 months

(Repeats story that ran on Saturday, with no change to text)

* China Oct unwrought copper, product imports at 618,108 T

* Imports in first 10 months of 2020 up 41.4% y/y at 5.61 mln T

* Oct copper concs imports 1.69 mln T;aluminium exports 418,894 T

BEIJING, Nov 7 (Reuters) - China’s copper imports rose year-on-year in October, official data showed on Saturday, and set a new annual peak with two months to spare, underscoring the speed of the recovery from the coronavirus in the world’s top consumer of the metal.

Arrivals of unwrought copper and copper products stood at 618,108 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said. That was down 14.4% from 722,450 tonnes in September, which was the second-highest monthly level on record, but up 43.4% from 431,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Imports in January-October reached 5.61 million tonnes, up 41.4% year-on-year and beating the previous record for China’s annual purchases of 5.297 million tonnes in 2018 with two months still to go.

Imports have surged this year as China’s rapid recovery from the coronavirus outbreak opened up an arbitrage between London and Shanghai copper prices that saw buyers snap up cheaper overseas metal.

The arbitrage was closed in October and China’s factory activity grew at a slower pace, cooling copper demand, although shortages of copper scrap have increased the need for other forms of the metal.

China’s imports of copper concentrate, or partially processed copper ore, came in at 1.69 million tonnes in October, customs said.

That was down 11.7% from a year earlier and down 21% from September, which was also the second-highest on record as smelters sought to secure as much raw material as possible in a tight market.

Meanwhile, China’s exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products came in at 418,893.7 tonnes in October, down 1.8% from in September and down 2.% from a year earlier.

China, the world’s top aluminium maker, was a net importer of the metal in July and August for the first time in more than a decade but reverted to net exporter status in September as overseas shipments started to recover from the pandemic.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Tom Daly; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Simon Cameron-Moore