A rise in alumina prices over the past several months thanks to United States sanctions of Rusal and outages at Alunorte has prompted Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) to take the unusual step of selling the aluminium precursor to buyers abroad.
“We ourselves have 30,000-50,000 tonnes (of alumina exports this month),” revealed Chalco’s president and executive director Lu Dongliang to Reuters yesterday. He continued by saying that China’s total exports of alumina for that period will likely be “a little higher than that.”
Lu remained mum as to exactly to which other destinations China’s aluminium was bound, quipping that “we sell to international companies and they do it.”
As to the year’s total alumina exports, Lu played close to the vest there as well, obliquely responding that “we will look at the market situation every month” and ante up when the company felt it was appropriate.
Lu continued by saying that such exports may well lead to “extremely high” pressure on the domestic alumina market.
He also declined to specify whether his company has been in communication with sanction-laden Rusal regarding the possibility of increased metals shipments to China, specifying that it was a “sensitive subject.”
As to the effect of the Trump administration’s blanket tariffs on aluminium imports into the United States, Lu opined that the impact upon Chalco would be “not big at all,” as the Middle Kingdom’s annual exports to the States totaled merely “above 500,000 tonnes.”
Lu was also queried over the status of Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco), where he is vice president. When asked of the firm’s total nameplate capacity, he specified that it currently sat at “over 5 million tonnes,” elaborating that no additional capacity was in the works for the rest of the year.