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Just last week, the China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry Association estimated the country’s copper reserves at year-end 2010 to have been 1.9 million tonnes—roughly as much as the U.S. used in 2010 and nearly 27% to 50% higher than the previous estimates of foreign analysts (Financial Times). We have no reason to doubt the Chinese association’s high number, particularly in light of a number of credible reports in the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal over the past 18 months regarding collateral financing schemes that boosted China’s apparent demand and stockpiles of copper and zinc, among other materials, and off-exchange hoarding of cotton by farmers hoping for better prices. Markets are not fond of surprises and a lack of reliable data on supply and demand and inventories in China injects unnecessary…