SHANGHAI, Nov 18 (SMM) – China’s imports of unwrought aluminium alloy notched a new record high in September, as demand from Chinese secondary aluminium producers and die-casting plants soared with Beijing throttling down the inflows of aluminium scrap.
Data from China customs showed that China imported 18,706 mt of unwrought aluminium alloy, the highest since SMM records began in January 2018. This was up 16.9% from a month ago and 140% from a year ago.
Shrinking imports of aluminium scrap and low stocks at Chinese secondary aluminium producers are expected to bolster imports of unwrought aluminium alloy to 40,000 mt in December.
In September, China imported 114,000 mt of aluminium scrap, down 19.1% month on month but up 17.5% year on year, showed customs data.
Chinese authorities issued about 405,000 mt of import quotas for aluminium scrap for the third quarter, which will remain valid until the end of the year.
Import quotas for the fourth quarter are estimated to shrink some 85% or 360,000 mt from those for the third quarter, which equates to a decline of 120,000 mt for each month.
Customs data showed that China’s imports of aluminium scrap amounted to 398,000 mt in Q3, indicating that Chinese scrap users have almost run out of import quotas.
This tightened scrap supply, and led to the increase in prices of aluminium scrap in November. Some scrap users told SMM that they could run at full capacity in October, but had to curtail production in November due to scrap shortages.