Though mandatory winter cuts have yet to go into effect, aluminium production by smelters in the People’s Republic of China fell again in October, largely due to a sag in aluminium prices.
Last month saw China’s overall aluminium production drop to 2.72 million metric tons. Numbers from the National Bureau of Statistics show the total representing a drop of 2.5 percent over September, but a rise of 6.8 percent on the year.
Daily output in the tenth month of the year averaged 88 thousand metric tons, off from September’s daily average of 93 thousand metric tons. October’s drop came despite the one additional day in the month and represents the lowest per-day average so far this year.
China’s output numbers fell thanks to the invisible hand of the market, thanks to smaller margins. Few market watchers expect a rise any time before next spring, as mandatory capacity cuts are expected to begin next month. Though Beijing has opted not to enforce blanket aluminium output cuts this year, they left the door open for municipalities, who may or may not decide to enact their own restrictions.
Meanwhile, aluminium prices have been a keenly effective limiting factor for output to date. Prices at the Shanghai exchange dropped by 2.1 percent in October, reaching a two-year nadir of $1,983 per metric ton just after month’s end on November 6.
The initial ten months of 2018 saw China churn out 27.71 million metric tons of aluminium, a rise of 4.4 percent on the year, with the NBS continuing to predict a record output for 2018.
On the whole, output of non-ferrous metals totaled 4.52 million metric tons in October, off 0.9 percent on the month, but up by 5.5 percent over last October’s overall total. Total output for the first ten months of the year came to 44.79 million metric tons, a rise of 4.4. percent on the year.