SHANGHAI, Oct. 8 (SMM) –
China’s bauxite imports surged in August amid fears that the Indonesian government may impose an outright ban on the exports of unprocessed ores, including bauxite, in 2014.
China imported 6.98 million mt of bauxite in August, a 241.55% increase YoY. YTD imports through August totaled 46.12 million mt, also up 60.84% YoY.
Indonesia remained China’s top bauxite supplier, with August imports hitting 4.98 million mt, and accounting for 71.39% of China’s total imports. Alumina producers in China increased bauxite imports over fears the Indonesian government may impose an outright ban on the exports of unprocessed ores, including bauxite, in 2014.
Chinese alumina producers relying on imported bauxite are now holding 7-10 months of raw materials, up sharply from levels at the end of 2012. Traders in Indonesia also stepped up exports, contributing to the growth in China’s bauxite imports.
It is rumored that the Indonesian government will relax its export policies, but even if the export ban takes effect in 2014, Chinese alumina producers be little affected in the short-term given their high raw material inventories. China’s bauxite imports are expected to remain high for the remainder of the year.
China’s alumina imports fell dramatically in August as growing supply and falling prices for domestic alumina deterred Chinese buyers from importing alumina.
The country’s alumina imports during August totaled 144,400 mt, a 54.18% plunge YoY. YTD imports through August were 2.03 million mt, also down 31.37% from a year ago.
China’s aluminum imports in August dropped on a year-on-year basis due to unfavorable SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio.
China imported 33,400 mt of primary aluminum during August, down 45.55% YoY, but up 62.19% MoM. YTD imports through August totaled 153,400 mt, a drop of 61.87% from the same period last year. The SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio this year has been below last year’s levels, which is unfavorable for imports and causing China’s aluminum import volumes to fall on a year-on-year basis. Nevertheless, the SHFE/LME aluminum price ratio rose in August, leaving Chinese buyers more willing to import aluminum and resulting in a month-on-month increase in China’s aluminum imports. Aluminum from Australia and India began to appear in China’s domestic market.
China exported 270,000 mt of aluminum semis during August, up 11.9% YoY, but down 3.6% MoM. Aluminum extrusion exports in August fell 26.97% YoY and 5.96% MoM, to 50,500 mt, dragged down by weak overseas demand and anti-dumping investigations of Chinese extrusion products in many developed countries. Aluminum plate/sheet and strip exports, in contrast, jumped 34.58% YoY to 142,400 mt, though little changed from July levels. Aluminum foil exports also rose 19.15% YoY to 64,800 mt, due to stable demand overseas for foil used in households and packaging sector.