SHANGHAI, Jan. 10 (SMM) – SMM survey reveals that China’s imports of Indonesian bauxite plunged since Indonesia restricted its bauxite exports in May 2012. However, the number of domestic enterprises qualified to import bauxite from Indonesia began to increase from last July. As of the end of last November, 10 domestic producers were able to import bauxite from Indonesia. Bauxite imports in November alone rose to 2.27 million mt, up 2.06 million mt from July.
These producers told SMM that bauxite imports from Indonesia were down 44% YoY in November, despite the surge in import volumes, suggesting Indonesia’s restrictions on bauxite exports are still in place. Chinese importers say they are now able to source only some of the bauxite from Indonesia’s Bintan Island and Kalimantan due to restrictions on local mine operators’ export quotas. In the mean time, the Indonesian government has not yet sent clear signals of relaxing control on raw ore exports.
The average import price of Indonesian bauxite rose to USD 51/mt last November, up USD 6/mt or 13% from the same period of 2011.
Most domestic alumina producers expressed uncertainty towards Indonesia’s bauxite export policy in 2013. Other producers held the view that Indonesia’s bauxite exports will grow slightly in 2013, but unlikely to return to levels seen before export restrictions are implemented.