BEIJING, Dec 18 (Reuters) – China’s aluminium imports in November fell 35.7% from a year earlier as a result of mounting domestic supply, also as the COVID-hit economy continued to temper demand for the light metal.
The country brought in 255,744 tonnes, including primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminium, last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
With easing power restrictions on industrial users this year, smelters in China ramped up their production. The latest November output number showed a ninth consecutive increase to 3.41 million tonnes.
For the first 11 months of the year, the world’s top aluminium maker produced 36.77 million tonnes, up 3.9% from the corresponding period in 2021.
Also weighing on import appetite was weak demand for the metal used in transportation, construction and packaging sectors.
China’s economy lost more momentum in November as factory output slowed and retail sales extended declines, both missing forecasts.
However, signs of easing COVID restrictions and Beijing’s efforts to revive the troubled property sector have brightened demand outlook for industrial metals, as reflected in a price rise last month.
The most-traded aluminium on the Shanghai Futures Exchange averaged at 18,845 yuan ($2,703.42) a tonne in November, up from 17,755 yuan a tonne in Ocotober when it hit a 19-month low.
November’s import volume recorded an increase of 30.2% from 196,460 tonnes in the prior month.
Total imports in the first 11 months were 2.13 million tonnes, down 28.2% from the corresponding period last year.
Imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminium ore, came in at 11.79 million tonnes last month. That was up 31.3% from October’s 8.98 million tonnes and up 53.6% from 7.7 million in November last year.
($1 = 6.9708 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Michael Perry
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