Manufacturing recovery? Aluminum tells different story as Chinese bauxite imports fall 30%

China’s manufacturing expanded for the first time in 13 months in November according to a closely watched index of purchasing managers released yesterday, but troubles in the aluminum industry – the most widely used metal in transportation, packaging and the construction industry – paint a different picture.

Smm.cn reports data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs show the country's imports of bauxite came in at 2.14 million tonnes in October, down 29.77% compared to last year.

China imported 32.5 million tonnes of bauxite – the primary feedstock for aluminum – in the first ten months of 2012, down 8.7% year-on-year with Indonesia the biggest loser among exporters – imports of bauxite from Indonesia dropped 55% compared to 2011 to just over 1 million tonnes while Australia reached added slightly to its exports which stood at 730,000 tonnes for the month.

Etnet reports the country is facing a serious overcapacity problem in electrolytic aluminum production according to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.

CNIA said China's production capacity of aluminum has already exceeded 25 million tonnes, higher than target set by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in January this year of 24 million tonnes by 2015.

On top of that the chief of leading producer CHALCO Henan International Trading Co, said that China may add more than 13 million tonnes of electrolytic aluminum production capacity over the next three years and the country's production capacity and output of primary aluminum may reach 33 million tonnes and 28 million tonnes respectively by 2015.