SHANGHAI, Jan 11 (SMM)－ Trading in China’s physical imported copper market is likely to stay thin until Chinese New Year with spot premiums under pressure, SMM believes. SMM’s Yangshan copper premium with warehouse warrant dropped to $75.5/mt on Thursday January 11, lowest level since late October last year. This is mainly due to weaker import demand and the close of arbitrage window with LME prices, according to SMM copper analyst Ye Jianhua. The overall downstream demand was decent – operating rates of copper rod producers were lower, but those of copper tube and pipe producers as well as copper plate, strip and foil producers were up in December. However, spot premiums have come down quickly since the start of this year and sellers were unwilling to offload their cargoes. Higher copper prices have also limited buying interest. We see losses remain for imported refined copper and they amounted to 403 yuan/mt as of Friday January 5. At one point in December the losses stood at over 1,100 yuan/mt, SMM data showed. This is likely to impact the import volumes in the near term.