SHANGHAI, Jul 24 (SMM) – China’s aluminium scrap imports remained at a low level in June and are expected to stay so in July given the sweeping tariffs and restrictions on scrap imports, SMM believes.
The latest data from China Customs showed that the country imported 110,000 mt of aluminium scrap in June, barely changed from May but 41.1% lower than the same period in 2017. This brought the import volumes to 840,000 mt during the first half of the year, down 21.7% year on year.
The Chinese government slapped a 25% tariff on aluminium scrap imports from the US in early April amid escalating trade disputes between the two countries. Volumes from the US accounted for some 30% of overall aluminium scrap imports to China and about 50,000 mt of imports would be affected every month.
Most US aluminium scrap now transit through Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong or Japan to flow into China, SMM learned. This added some $100/mt on the costs.
Meanwhile, China has restricted scrap imports in general. A total of 8,776 mt of aluminium scrap received the green light in the 16 batches of approvals for restricted solid scrap imports so far this year, down 99.2% from the volumes approved in a total of 11 batches last year.
SMM learned that some secondary aluminium producers have completely stopped using imported materials.
Additionally, the approval process for a new aluminium scrap exporter by the Chinese government is rather long as the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the General Administration of Customs (GACC) were consolidating their waste import businesses.