SHANGHAI, Apr. 11 (SMM) – According to China Customs, China imported 200,000 mt of alumina during March, down 54.5% YoY. YTD imports through March amounted to 1.04 million mt, also down 10.3% YoY.
This is the first time China’s alumina imports slid to near 200,000 mt since December 2012, a steep decline from January’s 490,000 mt and February’s 350,00 mt. SMM attributes the sharp fall to two reasons.
First, imported alumina enjoyed no advantage over domestic one. SMM data indicate prices for imported alumina at Lianyungang were RMB 2,650-2,700/mt (including tax) in March, higher than RMB 2,470-2,630/mt for domestic material. As such, buyers favored domestic alumina, causing alumina inventories at ports to grow and discouraging Chinese enterprises from importing.
Second, growing supply of domestic alumina from rising output at Guangxi Tiandong Jinsheng Chemicals, Guangxi Xinfa Alumina and Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group intensified competition among Chinese alumina producers, thereby leading to lower prices of domestic alumina.
SMM believes demand for imported alumina will decline further as a 450,000 mt/yr cut in aluminum capacity during the first three months of this year has created a supply glut of alumina in some regions.