SHANGHAI, Jul. 2 (SMM) --
Statistics from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA) show China’s alumina output during May climbed 14.67% YoY, to 3.4512 million mt, while the January to May total increased 8.94% YoY, to 15.5414 million mt. SMM surveys also confirm that operating rates at Chinese domestic alumina plants remained stable during May, without any significant cuts in output. Operations at downstream aluminum producers were also stable, but the restart of idled aluminum capacity in Guangxi province led to an increase in that region’s alumina demand. In general, domestic alumina demand was stable.
CNIA data reveals China’s primary aluminum output in May rose to 1.678 million mt, up 9.6% MoM and 8.9% YoY. The increases were due to new capacity in northwest China entered production as planned, as well as the restart of the No. 4 Aluminum Plant of Weiqiao Aluminum & Power, and more than 300,000 mt/yr in previously idled capacity in Guangxi province brought back online upon the introduction of energy subsidies in that region. This rise in output will add pressure on aluminum prices which are already suffering from sluggish demand.
China’s aluminum semis output during May grew to 2.488 million mt, up only 0.5% MoM, but up by 18.8% YoY. YTD output through May was 10.872 million mt, also up 12.1% YoY. The higher May output was predicted in a previous SMM operating rate survey. The average operating rate at aluminum extrusion producers during May was down 6.45% MoM, to 63.74% in May, while the rate at aluminum plate, sheet, strip and foil producers was stable at 62.97%. SMM’s operating rate forecast for June is for aluminum semis output to remain stable.