SHANGHAI, Jul. 3 (SMM) –
China Customs data show China imported 6.15 million mt of bauxite in May, down 2.04% YoY. YTD imports through May totaled 26.72 million mt, up 9.30% YoY. China imported 3.775 million mt of bauxite from Indonesia in May, down 30.9% YoY. YTD imports from Indonesia through May were 17.39 million mt, also down 14.7% YoY. China’s imports of Australian bauxite, however, surged 99.02% YoY to 1.41 million mt in May, and during the first five months of the year grew 50.24% YoY to 5.42 million mt. Imports by Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group alone accounted for 51% of total imports.
SMM believes Indonesia’s restrictions on raw ore exports and higher requirements for importers are the main reasons behind the decline in China’s Indonesian bauxite imports. This trend will continue until the Indonesian government loosens restrictions on bauxite exports.
According to China Customs, China imported 196,000 mt of alumina from Australia during May, down 66.3% YoY. YTD imports through May totaled 1.54 million mt, also down 16.1% YoY. The CIF price of Australian alumina remained high during May at USD 362.5/mt.
China imported 21,800 mt of primary aluminum during May, down 36.67% YoY, but up from April. TYD imports through May totaled 81,100 mt, a drop of 68.94% YoY. The SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio was up and favorable for imports, but overseas primary aluminum premiums rose to above USD 250/mt, depressing imports and allowing only a slight increase in primary aluminum imports from April levels.
China exported 290,000 mt of aluminum semis during May, up 11.54% YoY, while YTD exports through May were 1.21 million mt, a gain of 6.14% YoY. Chinese aluminum extrusion producers exported goods to the Mideast, Africa and South America, and avoided North America and Europe due to anti-dumping investigations or tariffs, which caused exports to fall in May by 35.64% YoY to 50,700 mt. Aluminum plate/sheet and strip exports, however, surged 50.18% YoY to 156,000 mt, while aluminum foil exports rose 8.51% YoY to 69,000 mt. The lower foil export growth was due to the seasonal low demand period for air-conditioner foil.