SHANGHAI, Dec. 13 (SMM) -- According to China Customs, China imported 230,000 mt of alumina during November, down 16% YoY. Total alumina imports from January to November were 1.68 million mt, down 57% YoY. China’s alumina imports fell continuously in the first three quarters of 2011, but began to grow noticeably in 4Q 2011.
According to SMM statistics, China’s alumina imports were only 35,000 mt in August, hitting a record low for 2011. Alumina imports in September and October were 80,000 mt and 260,000 mt, respectively, and imports in November again exceeded 200,000 mt. SMM predicts alumina imports will likely grow further in the future.
Overseas alumina prices fell continuously in response to slipping LME aluminum prices. As of December 9th, FOB prices for Australia alumina have fallen to USD 311/mt, while non-CHALCO alumina prices were about RMB 2,700/mt in Henan Province. Therefore, imported alumina enjoyed strong price advantage compared with domestic alumina, which caused alumina imports to increase.
SMM sources report that current SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio is above 7.6, with the ratio once hitting a high of 7.9. Since FOB prices for Australia alumina are about 16% of LME aluminum prices, the rising SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio indicates the price advantage of overseas alumina is becoming stronger.