SHANGHAI, June 8 -- China's aluminum export growth may stall should the yuan be allowed to appreciate against the dollar, the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said.
Rising labor costs have already made China's products less competitive overseas, Li Defeng, director of aluminum at the association, said in slides prepared for the Antaike aluminum conference in Shanghai today. Producers should look to take advantage of growing domestic demand, Li said.
"Producers should actively tap domestic demand," said Li. Exports may decline, though China's urbanization and transport development will boost local demand, he said.
U.S. purchases accounted for 19 percent of China's overseas aluminum sales last year, the association said. China, the world's biggest producer, has resisted calls from trading partners to let the yuan strengthen after maintaining a peg of about 6.83 percent to the dollar since July 2008.
Low-carbon emission requirements will boost the lightweight metal's use in vehicles and high-speed trains, Li said.
China' aluminum product exports rose 7.5 percent to 472,000 metric tons in the first quarter from the December quarter of 2009, the slides show.
China produced 16.5 million tons of aluminum products in 2009. Shandong Nanshan Aluminum Co. and China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. are the biggest producers.