SHANGHAI, Mar. 25 (SMM) – China’s imports of alumina fell to 464,800 tonnes in February due to high inventories at ports and little price advantages, Shanghai Metals Market learnt.
Inbound shipments were 464,800 tonnes in February, down 27.60% month-on-month, but up 32.23% year-on-year. China's imports totaled 1.11 million tonnes during the first two months of 2014, up 31.83% year-on-year.
The month-on-month decline in imports matched SMM’s earlier expectations
, and was due largely to the following two factors. First, Chinese aluminum producers preferred to consume inventories built before the Chinese New Year holiday, reducing demand for imported alumina. Inventory pressures at ports were further pronounced by high imports in January. Second, ex-works prices of alumina were 2,550 yuan ($416) per tonne in Shandong, and the price of imported alumina was 2,600 yuan per tonne at the Port of Lianyungang, leaving no consumption advantages.
In March, FOB prices for Australia’s alumina lurched lower to $318 per tonne, with CIF prices at $342 per tonne. But, traded prices were between 2,560–2,580 yuan per tonne at the Port of Lianyungang. Hefty costs were blamed for strong prices of imported alumina at ports in March, traders said. Such conditions were not expected to allow China’s alumina imports to grow in March.