China August aluminum imports fall 20.7% from the prior month

(Image by Rio Tinto)

China’s aluminum imports in August fell 20.7% from the previous month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Saturday, hitting their lowest since May.

Arrivals of unwrought aluminum and products – which include primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminum – were 247,547 tonnes, down from 312,086 tonnes in July and down 42.4% from a year earlier.

In August last year, imports hit the second-highest on record as the COVID-19 pandemic upended trade flows and a price arbitrage made it cheaper for domestic buyers to source overseas metal.

This year, curbs on smelter output and electricity usage in several regions have sharply cut domestic aluminum supply in China, the world’s top producer of the metal, keeping demand for imported aluminum at a high level.

Russia, one of China’s biggest overseas suppliers of primary aluminum, imposed a tax of 15% – or a minimum of $254 a tonne – on aluminum exports from August, however, making shipments less favorable.

China’s imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminum ore, were down 15.1% year-on-year at 8.7 million tonnes in August. That was also down 5.9% from July.

A coup in Guinea, China’s top bauxite supplier, ousted President Alpha Conde in early September but mines have reported no immediate impact on operations.

(By Ryan Woo and Tom Daly; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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