Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Chinese aluminum floods markets


A worker places identification labels on cut aluminum slabs at a foundry at the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter operated by United Co Rusal in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on Monday.

Photo: Bloomberg

China last month sustained a surge in aluminum shipments to world markets as buyers sought supplies from the largest producer to replace metal from United Co Rusal, which has been hit by US sanctions.

Exports of unwrought aluminum and products reached 517,000 tonnes, almost the same as the 520,000 tonnes in July, which was the highest total in more than three years, according to Chinese customs data yesterday.

Shipments exceeded 1.5 million tonnes in June through last month, a record for a three-month period, and were up 15 percent in the first eight months of the year.

Aluminum prices jumped in April after the US announced sanctions on Russia’s Rusal, the top supplier outside of China, upending global supply chains that were already under pressure from lower output at Alunorte in Brazil.

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska is negotiating with US authorities on a plan to lift the sanctions before next month’s deadline, but buyers have been jockeying for supplies in the meantime in case his measures do not satisfy the US.

China has also been boosting exports of alumina, used to make aluminum, and shipments will probably keep expanding because of supply disruptions, such as industrial action at Alcoa Corp’s plants in Australia, Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (中國鋁業) said this month.

Outbound cargoes totaled more than 300,000 tonnes in the three months to July from about 11,000 tonnes in the same period last year.

Other commodities:

‧Spot gold on Friday fell US$1,197.22 an ounce, down 0.2 percent for the week.

Coal imports by China last month fell just 1.1 percent to the equivalent of 925,161 tonnes a day, compared with 935,806 the previous month, the highest since January 2014, according to Bloomberg calculations based on customs data released yesterday. Shipments gained 14.7 percent to 204 million tonnes in the first eight months of the year.

‧China’s steel exports last month totaled 5.875 million tonnes, the smallest in five months. Shipments were down 13 percent annually in the first eight months of the year to 47.2 million tonnes, the lowest since 2013.

‧The country’s iron ore imports were 89.35 million tonnes, little changed from 89.96 million tonnes in July. In the first eight months of the year, purchases slipped just 0.5 percent to 709.9 million tonnes.

‧China’s copper ore and concentrate imports reached 1.66 million tonnes, down from a record 1.85 million tonnes in July. Inbound cargoes surged 18 percent to 13.06 million tonnes in the first eight months, with the country on track to add the most smelting capacity in four years.

‧Incoming cargoes of copper in unwrought or product form fell to 420,000 tonnes, the lowest in six months. Still, in the first eight months, imports jumped 15 percent to 3.47 million tonnes.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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