China’s October aluminum output climbs 9.5% on relaxed power curbs

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China’s primary aluminum production in October climbed by 9.5% compared with a year earlier, fuelled by growing exports and relaxed curbs on power consumption compared with last year.

The country produced 3.45 million tonnes of primary aluminum last month, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, an eighth straight monthly rise versus 2021 numbers as the industry recovers from electricity usage restrictions last year that triggered sharp declines in output from the world’s top producer.

That represented daily output of 111,290 tonnes.

Growing overseas demand for Chinese aluminum products also bolstered consumption of primary aluminum, supporting production.

China exported 5.68 million tonnes of unwrought aluminum and aluminum product in the first 10 months of the year, up 25% from the corresponding period a year ago, with booming overseas demand supporting domestic production.

October’s was also up 0.9% from September’s 3.42 million tonnes after a production ramp-up in the southwestern Sichuan province, though production in Yunnan province remained restricted because of tight hydro-power supply.

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

The strong production, coupled with persistently weak demand in the domestic market still hobbled by tight covid curbs, weighed on aluminum prices.

The most-traded December aluminum contract listed on the Shanghai Futures Exchange averaged 17,805 yuan ($2,524.60) a tonne in October, the lowest since April 2021.

The falling prices have also squeezed producers’ profit margins. The average profit for the aluminum industry tumbled 245 yuan a tonne last month to 825 yuan a tonne, according to information provider Mysteel.

Production of 10 non-ferrous metals – including copper, aluminum, lead, zinc and nickel – climbed 10.1% in October from a year earlier to 5.85 million tonnes. Output in the first 10 months of the year rose 3.3% to 55.75 million tonnes.

The other non-ferrous metals are tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium and titanium.

($1 = 7.0526 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(By Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Edmund Klamann, Kenneth Maxwell and Gerry Doyle)

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