Spot Price for Alumina in Shanxi Rises This Week, But Still Down from December
07 January 2018 by Staff
The daily spot price for alumina in the central Chinese province of Shanxi rose this week to CNY2,750 per metric ton this week, with some sellers predicting even higher prices for the aluminium precursor in coming weeks.
The Platts ex-works Shanxi daily spot alumina assessment was better by CNY40 per metric ton by Thursday, which is a gain of CNY70 over the previous week, setting a bid/ask price range of between CNY2,720 and 2,800 per metric ton. However, the price recovery notwithstanding, alumina’s price in the area is still off by CNY570 per metric ton from December.
“Some traders may be willing to sell lower at around Yuan 2,750/mt, but most refiners are all keeping to a minimum price of Yuan 2,800/mt now,” a refiner from neighboring Henan told Platts.
“But trader stocks are limited, and no trades have been heard, we need to see actual trade for clearer direction,” expressed a cautious Shandong trader.
Traders expressed a range of opinions regarding the state of the alumina market in coming weeks. While some forecast a rise due to restocking ahead of the Spring Festival next month, others say the overall soft aluminium market in China would weigh down alumina as well.
“There’s not much restocking needed this year, as transport has improved and there’s more supply,” opined the Shandong trader above.
A trader from Beijing believes the weather may play a role in near-term alumina prices as well.
“It’s hard to say, there’s been heavy snow in many areas recently, so transport may be affected … but ingot prices may also be pressured down by high stockpiles, and that in turn can pressure alumina, so we must wait and see.”
Per sources in-country, domestic aluminium stocks total approximately 1.75 million metric tons. Experts believe those stocks could reach as high as 2.4 million metric tons in the run-up to the Spring Festival.
“Sentiment is weak for metal on the high stock levels. We expect alumina to move towards cost levels of around Yuan 2,400-2,500/mt,” explained a representative from a northwestern China smelter. According to other sources who spoke to Platts, refinery costs have been falling in the CNY2,500 to CNY2,600 per metric ton range.