SHANGHAI, Feb. 6 (SMM) -
According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), China produced 3.04 million mt of alumina during December, up 15.99% YoY. Total alumina output for 2012 grew by 10.62% to 37.69 million mt, and due largely to growing demand from domestic aluminum smelters and from new capacity coming online. Although some alumina producers cut output after Indonesia banned bauxite exports, any reduction in output was offset by new capacity coming online. During late 4Q, previously idled capacity was restarted as bauxite imports from Indonesia began to grow.
Data from the CNIA shows China produced 1.76 million mt of primary aluminum during December, up 17.4% YoY and 6.0% MoM. 120,000 mt/yr in new aluminum capacity at Qinghai Xinye Aluminum and 90,000 mt/yr in new aluminum capacity at Xinjiang Joinworld came online in December. In addition, Xinjiang Heaven Dragon Mining, Xinjiang East Hope Aluminum and Xinjiang Jiarun Aluminum are now ready for trial production. Aluminum smelters in northwest China, especially Xinjiang, are also eager to enter production, regardless of falling spot aluminum prices. Based on schedules for the starting of new capacity, primary aluminum output will continue to hit new highs as long as no aluminum smelters cut production.
According to the CNIA, China produced approximately 2.98 million mt of aluminum semis during December, up 49.6% YoY and 3.0% MoM. The CNIA data shows China’s aluminum semis output totaled 30.39 million mt during 2012, higher than the 20.27 million mt in primary aluminum output. Aluminum ingot inventories were also up on a yearly basis in late 2012, but that would mean scrap aluminum supply in China would need to exceed 10 million mt. However, the total of domestic and imported scrap aluminum in China is estimated to be well below 10 million mt at the moment, so the aluminum semis output data provided by the CNIA is not considered accurate.