BEIJING: China’s aluminium imports in December eased from the previous month, snapping three monthly gains, although imported volumes were strong enough to solidify 2021’s position as a record year of shipments.
China, the world’s biggest aluminium producer and consumer, imported 3.2 million tonnes of unwrought aluminium and products – which include primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminium – in 2021, a new record high and up from 2.7 million tonnes in 2020.
On a monthly basis, December imports stood at 243,729 tonnes, according to the General Administration of Customs, down 39% from 397,915 tonnes in November, and down 8.2% year-on-year.
China is a net exporter of aluminium, but has been importing increasing amounts of the metal as higher prices of Shanghai aluminium versus international prices through most of 2021 made it favourable for imports of overseas aluminium.
China 2021 aluminium output climbs to record despite power curbs
Power curbs on energy-intensive industries in several Chinese regions due to government efforts to reduce carbon emissions also dampened domestic production.
In comparison, China’s exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products hit 562,975 tonnes in December, their highest monthly levels, while full-year shipments stood at 5.62 million tonnes, according to China customs data released on Jan. 14.
China’s imports of bauxite, the main aluminium ore, was at 8.73 million tonnes in December, customs data showed, which is up 13.4% from the previous month.
Annual bauxite imports were down 3.8% year-on-year at 107.37 million tonnes.