TOKYO, Jan. 15 -- Aluminium stocks held at three major Japanese ports rose 7.09 percent in December compared to a month earlier, although there has been steady demand for the metal, trading house Marubeni Corp (8002.T) said on Thursday.
"There has been a steady flow of supply from stocks," a Marubeni official said.
Japan's demand for aluminium, widely used in packaging and transportation, has returned after falling sharply last year as manufacturers cut production due to the economic crisis.
Demand is now back to about 80 percent of the typical year, although appetite in the construction sector, a major consumer, remains in a slump.
Stocks came to 193,300 tonnes at the end of December, down 38.9 percent from a year earlier.
The official added, however, that metal industry officials remain worried about aluminium demand from April, when the new financial year begins, as recent economic data has suggested that Japan's recovery is still fragile.
The country's core machinery orders tumbled to a record low in November, adding to government fears of a return to recession that could heighten the need for yet more fiscal stimulus spending.
Aluminium stocks fell to 169,900 tonnes at the end of September, marking their lowest level since Marubeni began taking records about 14 years ago.