SHANGHAI, Feb. 1 (SMM) -- According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, China’s output of aluminum semis was 1.99 million mt during December 2011, up 0.4% YoY, but down 6.4% MoM. Total aluminum semis output in 2011 was 23.46 million mt, up 20.6%. Those figures are generally in line with SMM survey of aluminum processors in December.
The SMM survey shows that operating rates at China’s aluminum plate, sheet and strip producers were 53.4% during December, down 1.3% MoM, while operating rates at aluminum profile producers were 68.1%, unchanged from November. Orders at aluminum processors decreased in December, and many producers suspended operations due to order shortages, with workers also returning home for the holiday in advance. In general, operating rates at China’s aluminum processors were down slightly in December due to sluggish exports, weak domestic consumption and the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, with aluminum semis output falling as well.
Based on new orders for January and production suspension during the holiday, SMM expects operating rates at aluminum processors to fall further in January, and aluminum semis output in January will decline significantly as well.