SHANGHAI, Feb. 1 (SMM) --
According to China Customs, China's imports of bauxite during December were 2.61 million mt, up 13.09% MoM, and in line with SMM's previous forecast. Total imports during 2009 were 19.69 million mt, down 23.65% YoY, and mainly due to production cuts at alumina producers in Shandong Province at the beginning of 2009. Based on current operating rates at alumina producers which use imported bauxite as raw materials, imports of bauxite in 2010 are expected to rebound to 2008 levels.
China's alumina imports were 349.1 kt during December, with total annual imports of 5.14 million mt, up 12.1% YoY. In 2009, the rebound of aluminum production was cause for stronger demand of imported alumina, and SMM forecasts in 2010 that annual imports of alumina should be approximately 500 kt.
China's total aluminum imports in 2009 were 1.4961 million mt, 11 times higher than 2008, and may result in lower import volumes during 2010. According to data from China Customs, China's exports of primary aluminum were as high as 27.3 mt in December, up 679.19% MoM, mainly exported to South Korea and Japan. Since premiums were high in these two countries, there is the possibility some aluminum ingot stored in bonded area could be re-exported.
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