Covid takes toll on China’s aluminum imports – Reuters

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The decline comes as the country’s pandemic-hit economy reduces demand for the metal

China’s aluminum imports saw a drastic decline of 35.7% in November versus the same period a year ago, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing data from the General Administration of Customs.

The decline is reportedly attributable to mounting domestic supply along with stagnating demand for the light metal amid Covid-related restrictions.

The nation brought in 255,744 tons, including primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminum. Total imports in the first 11 months of the current year were 2.13 million tons, down 28.2% from the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminum ore, came in at 11.79 million tons in November, up 31.3% from October’s 8.98 million tons and up 53.6% from 7.7 million tons in November 2022.

The latest November output numbers demonstrated a ninth consecutive increase to 3.41 million tons as Chinese smelters boosted production following an easing of power restrictions on industrial users this year.

China, the world’s top aluminum producer, manufactured 36.77 million tons in the first 11 months of the current year, marking a 3.9% surge compared to the corresponding period in 2021.

Weakening demand for the metal has mainly been attributed to a slowdown in the transportation, construction and packaging sectors. However, signs of easing Covid-related restrictions and the state’s latest attempts to revive the troubled property sector have recently brightened the demand outlook for industrial metals. This was reflected in a price rise recorded in November.

The most-traded aluminum on the Shanghai Futures Exchange averaged at 18,845 yuan ($2,703.42) per ton, up from 17,755 yuan per ton in the previous month, when it dropped to a 19-month low.

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