SHANGHAI， Oct. 10 (SMM) -
According to China Customs, China imported 2.04 million mt of bauxite in August, up 47.51% MoM and down 46.09% YoY. YTD imports from January through August were 28.68 million mt, up 2.03% YoY.
SMM has confirmed that Indonesian bauxite accounted for the largest share of China’s bauxite imports during August. China imported 945,400 mt of bauxite from Indonesia, down 67.66% YoY, but up 733,000 mt, or 344.94% MoM, from July.
China imported 315,000 mt of alumina in August, down 30% from July’s 460,000 mt, but up 796.41% YoY. YTD imports from January through August hit 3.24 million mt, up 191.73% YoY.
SMM attributes the significant monthly decline in alumina imports in August to falling domestic alumina prices and since imported alumina had no significant price advantage over domestic alumina. Without any price advantage, domestic aluminum smelters with long-term contracts mostly sold alumina overseas.
The strong price advantage of imported alumina, especially from Australia, is the main reason behind the growth in alumina imports to China during the first eight months this year.
Aluminum China imported 61,300 mt of primary aluminum during August, up 423.65% YoY and 50.3% MoM. Primary aluminum imports to China continued to grow in August since the SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio rose during July and was favorable for imports. Falling port aluminum ingot premiums was also favorable for aluminum ingot imports.
Aluminum Semis China exported 240,000 mt of aluminum semis in August, down 11.11% YoY, but up 4.34% MoM, including 69,000 mt of aluminum extrusions, which were down 10.3% YoY and 4.2% MoM. China exported 106,000 mt of aluminum plate, sheet and strip, down 22.1% YoY, but up 15.2% MoM, and exported 54,000 mt of aluminum foil, down 3.0% YoY and 5.3% MoM. SMM attributes China’s weak aluminum semis exports during August to the fact that a high SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio squeezed profit margins for exporters. However, domestic exporters report overseas orders have begun to rise recently since LME aluminum prices are now rising following implementation of QE3. The rebound in exports should help offset sluggish consumption in China’s domestic markets.