Beijing issued scrap metal import quotas for the third quarter on Wednesday, with increases in allowed tonnage for aluminium, copper, and ferrous scrap for the period.
In the third quarter, China Solid Waste and Chemicals Management will allow 436,930 metric tons of scrap metal into its ports, broken up into 306,930 metric tons of aluminium scrap, 124,450 metric tons of copper scrap, and 5,550 metric tons of ferrous scrap.
In addition to limiting scrap imports, the Chinese government has taken the step of regulating importers as well by restricting imports under the quota regime as of July 1 to importers who possess a permit. So far the lion’s share of permits have been issued to importers in Guangdong, Ningbo, Shanghai, Taicang, and Xiamen, with a limited number granted to importers in Dalian and Tianjin.
Chinese scrap buyers say they expect to receive word on quotas for other regions in the near future. Many such buyers stockpiled scrap prior to the implementation of the initial round of quotas at the beginning of the month. Several plants around the country are operating at below capacity for various other reasons, which has blunted some of the negative effects of the quotas so far.
Third-quarter quotas are up from those set in June for the current quarter. Second-quarter permitted import volumes of aluminium totaled 54,256 metric tons, 240,429 metric tons of copper, and 14,968 metric tons of ferrous scrap.
Though copper import permits are below the total imported in last year’s third quarter, permitted import volumes of aluminium exceed the total imported aluminium scrap scheduled for the current quarter. Last year Chinese importers accepted 624,276 metric tons of copper scrap and 349,510 metric tons of aluminium scrap.
For the entire year of 2018, Chinese buyers imported 5.32 million metric tons of metal scrap last year, including 2.41 million metric tons of copper scrap and 1.57 million metric tons of aluminium scrap.