SHANGHAI, Jan. 11 (SMM) – According to China Customs, China imported 390,000 mt of alumina last December, and 5.02 million mt throughout 2012, up 167% YoY.
SMM indicates that most Chinese alumina importers were large aluminum producers in 2012 including China Aluminum International Trading, Qinghai Qiaotou Aluminum Electricity, Qingtongxia Aluminum and Henan Yugang Longquan Aluminum. Imported alumina was mainly from Australia, with Australian alumina accounting for as much as 92% of China’s total imports during the first eleven months of 2012.
Four reasons were behind the rise in alumina imports in China last year. First, prices of imported alumina were lower than domestic goods. Alumina prices at port (including tax) dropped along with rising imports. Second, commissioning of domestic newly-added alumina capacity was too slow to meet demand from newly-built aluminum capacity in northwest China. Third, the appreciation of RMB increased Chinese importers’ purchasing power in overseas markets. Fourth, alumina output declined at domestic producers relying on imported bauxtite due to Indonesia’s restrictions on bauxite exports.