The world's largest consumer of copper may slash imports by half in the second quarter due to soaring prices, the Hong Kong Standard reported, quoting traders and analysts. Copper prices have jumped 45% to near US$8,000 per ton in the last two months as China has more than doubled its imports. This quarter, imports of refined copper and alloy may drop to 100,000 tons per month from an estimated 190,000 tons. Stockpiles in Shanghai Futures Exchange warehouses, which fell 46% last year as world prices reached record highs of US$8,800 a ton, are now at their highest in nine months and China may even export as much as 10,000 tons of refined copper a month in the second quarter. Chinese traders have only exported about 1,000 tons per month so far this year.