Beijing announced the third set of import scrap quotas for the quarter earlier this week, setting a limit of 11,290 metric tons of aluminium scrap to be allowed into the country’s ports during the third quarter.
Altogether, China Solid Waste and Chemicals Management will limit imports of scrap metal to a shade under 100 thousand metric tons through the end of next month, with copper scrap accounting for 87,680 metric tons of the allowed imports and allowed ferrous scrap to total 400 metric tons.
Despite scrap quotas being lower than anticipated, weak demand has left many plants in China working at under full capacity, thus making hard import limits on scrap a minor concern.
“There is no license issue, [the Chinese firms] can’t even fulfill their quotas because the market is so slow,” explained an unnamed European supplier to Argus Media.
To date, third-quarter quotas of aluminium total 372,476 metric tons, while total third-quarter copper quotas are 624,276 metric tons and third-quarter quotas of ferrous scrap total 20,918 metric tons. Beijing issued two prior sets of quotas, but it is not now known if or when any subsequent third-quarter quotas will be issued.
Under China’s new policy on imported scrap, all scrap importers must have a license to purchase imported scrap metal. Scrap aluminium may only ship through Tianjin, Nanhai and Nansha, while copper is only allowed to arrive in country at Nanhai, Nansha, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuzhou, and Xiamen.
Per customs data, Chinese ports received 349,510 metric tons of aluminium scrap and 624,276 metric tons of copper scrap in the months of July through September last year.