SHANGHAI, Mar. 20 (SMM) -- Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (CHALCO) released 2011 earnings report on March 17. According to the report, China’s alumina output was about 38.81 million mt in 2011, up 24.4% YoY, while aluminum demand was about 39.04 million mt, up 10.5% YoY. China’s alumina imports were 1.88 million mt in 2011, down 56.4% YoY.
CHALCO said global alumina output was about 90.67 million mt in 2011, up 10.6% YoY, while global alumina consumption was about 89.40 million mt, up 7.9% YoY. Operating rates at global alumina producers were about 89.3% as of the end of December 2011, with operating rates in China at 81.9%.
Global alumina spot prices rose first but fell later during 2011. Primary aluminum and alumina prices climbed gradually at the beginning of 2011 due to steady economic recovery. Alumina prices slipped in response to primary aluminum prices in September. International alumina spot prices reached a high of USD 440/mt, and dipped to a low of USD 310/mt in 2011, with average prices at USD 413/mt, up 19% YoY. Domestic alumina prices hit a high of RMB 3,000/mt, and fell to a low of RMB 2,600/mt in 2011, with average prices at RMB 2,786/mt, down 3% YoY.
SMM believes the growth of domestic alumina output was higher than the global average level, and domestic alumina output also grew faster than demand. Operating rates at domestic alumina enterprises were much lower than the global level, indicating domestic alumina capacity was in surplus. In general, weak primary aluminum prices and increasing alumina supply pushed alumina prices down in 2011.