China’s October aluminum imports drop 34% amid rising supply, weak demand

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China’s aluminum imports in October fell 33.9% from a year earlier due to persistently weak demand and increases in domestic supply.

The country brought in 196,460 tonnes, including primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminum, last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

The drop in imports comes after a ramp-up in domestic production this year. Output in October grew for an eighth consecutive month to 3.45 million tonnes.

For the first 10 months of the year, China produced 33.33 million tonnes, up 3.3% from the corresponding period in 2021.

Demand for the light metal used in the transportation, construction, and packaging sectors however has remained weak due to China’s strict covid curbs.

Factory output in the world’s second-largest economy grew more slowly than expected in October and retail sales fell for the first time in five months, underscoring faltering demand at home and abroad.

Imports have also slid on higher global aluminum prices, supported by concerns that the London Metal Exchange could block Russian metal from its trading system, as well as a possible ban on Russian metals by the United States.

Total imports in the first 10 months were 1.88 million tonnes, down 27% from the corresponding period last year.

Imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminum ore, came in at 8.98 million tonnes last month. That was up 9.5% from September’s 8.2 million tonnes and down 5.4% from 9.5 million in October last year.

(By Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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