SHANGHAI, Feb. 6 (SMM) --
According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), China’s alumina output was 2.61 million mt during December 2011, up 3% YoY. Total output in 2011 was 34.17 million mt, up 14.8% YoY. Most aluminum producers completed inventory building during December, while some alumina producers conducted unit maintenance, both activities resulting in lower alumina output in December.
According to the CNIA, China’s aluminum output during December 2011was 1.50 million mt, and with total 2011 output of 18.06 million mt, up 11.5% from 2010. CNIA output data was below SMM forecasts due to different statistical methods. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced an increase in electricity prices back in December, causing some domestic aluminum producers to cut production due to growing losses. According to SMM data, a total of 480,000 mt in aluminum capacity was cut in December and was the main factor behind the lower annualized capacity of December output when compared to November.
According to the CNIA, China’s aluminum semis output during December 2011 was 1.99 million mt, up 0.4% YoY, but down 6.4% MoM. Total aluminum semis output during 2011 was 23.46 million mt, up 20.6% YoY, and these figures were generally in line with SMM December survey results. That SMM survey showed operating rates at 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 fell in December and many producers suspended operations and sent workers home early due to order shortages. In general, operating rates at China’s aluminum processors were down slightly in December due to sluggish exports, weak domestic consumption, and from the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday, causing aluminum semis output to fall as well.