Singapore, Feb. 22 -- China's domestic spot alumina prices ex-works basis continued steady amid thin trade Tuesday, industry sources said.
Prices were still heard highest in Henan province at above Yuan 2,800/mt ($426), with offers at Yuan 2,850/mt. In Shandong, major refiner Weiqiao was heard trading at Yuan 2,800/mt, with others mostly around Yuan 2,780/mt. Shanxi levels continued to hover at Yuan 2,750/mt, with Guangxi trades at Yuan 2,700-2,750/mt.
Platts' assessment for China domestic alumina ex-works Henan closed at Yuan 2,810/mt, unchanged from Monday, but up Yuan 10/mt from a week ago, and up Yuan 50/mt on the month.
Refiner and smelter sources said some smelter restarts and expected new smelter capacities this year have supported alumina, but there were also concerns that the added capacities could pressure aluminum prices downwards, which would in turn impact alumina.
Expected new alumina capacities and the recent interest rate increase from the central bank earlier this month were also areas of concern.
Hence, most sources expected alumina prices to likely to stay rangebound in the near term.
A Henan refiner on Tuesday indicated a tradeable level of Yuan 2,830/mt for 5,000-10,000 mt spot, while smelters' buying interest stood at a maximum of Yuan 2,800/mt for Henan materials.
"The Henan levels are too expensive, we won't pay more than Yuan 2,800/mt. We would rather buy from other regions where it's cheaper," one smelter source said.
"We just bought 23,000 mt from a trader for March delivery at Yuan 2,950/mt delivered for Shanxi materials," he added.
The front-month March aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at Yuan 16,890/mt on Tuesday, down from Yuan 16,970/mt on Monday, and flat from a week ago.