SHANGHAI, Feb. 27 (SMM) – According to China Customs, China imported 5.14 million mt of bauxite in January, up 67.59% YoY and an 8-month high.
SMM’s breakdown of import data released by China Customs shows that China’s imports of Indonesian bauxite rose to 3.04 million mt in January, up 28.84% YoY, and 34.95% MoM. China also imported 986,000 mt of Australian bauxite, up 49.09% YoY, and 34.70% MoM. China’s imports of bauxite from India, Guinea and Ghana also grew. Ghana bauxite came into China for the first time, imported by Chongqing’s Bosai Minerals Group.
The average CIF price for Indonesian bauxite grew 15.22% YoY to USD 49.75/mt, while CIF price for Australian bauxite averaged USD 59.40/mt, up 8.55% YoY. The average CIF prices for bauxite from Africa and South America ranged from USD 74/mt to USD 82/mt. Bauxite prices vary largely from grade and distance.
SMM believes four reasons were behind the rise in China’s bauxite imports in January. First, newly-built alumina capacity in Shandong gave a boost to demand for bauxite. Second, alumina producers who cut production because of export restrictions on bauxite by the Indonesian government began to resume production, increasing demand for raw materials. Third, Chinese alumina producers built up stocks in advance for fear that the Indonesian government might restrict bauxite exports again in 2014. Fourth, the Indonesian government relaxed some on its bauxite export policy, allowing some domestic traders to increase bauxite imports.