Sales of copper products have surged back to pre-pandemic rate, thanks to a marked increase in demand both in the local and international markets following the reopening of economies around the world.
The copper industry in the country registered around a 40% jump in sales in the first quarter of the current fiscal year 2021-22, said market insiders, adding the Covid induced economic downturn had dented the demand for copper products but the industry rebounded quickly along with the electronics market.
They said the production of air conditioners and refrigerators has increased as the pandemic situation has become normal. Now, customers are buying more ACs and refrigerators besides electronics products, they added.
This year, prices of raw materials of copper products have increased by 70%-80% internationally. Therefore, local entrepreneurs also have increased prices of their products.
According to the London Metal Exchange (LME), the current price of copper is about $9,500 per tonne while that of aluminum alloy is $2,400 per tonne and nickel is below $19,500 per tonne.
In the July-October period this year, exports of copper wire jumped by 88.04% due to surging demand internationally. During the period, Bangladesh exported $18.24 million worth of copper wire while the target set for the period was $22.77 million.
Now, the industry is producing numerous copper products including copper pipe, copper tube, copper flat bar, copper strip, copper rod, copper earthen wire, copper cable and wire, copper super enamel, and copper fittings items.
Some cable companies such as BRB, BBS, Partex, Gazi, and Meghna Group along with Eastern Cable, Star Paradise Cable, Citizen Cable, and SQ Cable are producing cable for the electronics market.
Besides, Coppertech Industries, MRS Industries, Salam & Brother, Farhana Metal, and RR Imperial are producing other copper products in the country.
On the other hand, Nialco Alloys Ltd, an export-oriented company, mainly manufactures high-grade bronze and brass ingots. Recently, the company has decided to set up two new plants to manufacture finished products to expand its business. The production capacity of the new plants will be 100 tonnes per month.
Coppertech Industries Limited posted a 50% year-on-year growth in sales in the July-September quarter of the current fiscal year.
During the period, the revenue of the company was Tk15.36 crore. Its net profit was Tk1.93 crore during the period.
SK Miraj Ali, company secretary of Coppertech Industries, said the industry was seriously affected by the pandemic but now the situation is normal. As a result, the demand for copper products is increasing gradually, he added.
A state-owned company Gazi Wires Limited is the pioneer and the biggest manufacturer of enameled round copper winding wire in Bangladesh.
Officials of Gazi Wires said the demand for copper products is increasing gradually.
But as the company did not get any tender from the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) – the company's major customer that consumes 80% of its products, its sales are slow now despite increasing demand of the industry, according to sources.
Industry insiders said the copper industry in the country currently involves a total investment, including working capital, of approximately Tk5,000 crore.
Many entrepreneurs have come forward to invest in this sector, encouraged by the increasing demand for copper products.
The raw materials of the industry are imported from Chile, Belgium, China, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).