Aluminium smelters in the People’s Republic of China combined to produce 2.98 million metric tons of primary aluminium, representing the second-highest total tonnage reported by Beijing since the state began keeping records. July’s total surpassed that of June by 0.2 percent.
Though the month’s total is a near-record high, the National Bureau of Statistics said it was off by 2 percent on the year. Per Reuters’ calculations, the per-day total of 96 thousand metric tons was 3 thousand less on the month, despite June having one fewer day.
The rise also came despite the curtailment of 220 thousand metric tons per annum of smelting capacity in the month. The lion’s share of the lost capacity was at China Zhongwang’s smelter in Liaoning, according to Antaike.
Per CRU analyst Jackie Wang, the Liaoning’s smelter was July’s biggest hurdle, though a slower-than-expected smelter ramp-up in Guanxi also caused problems.
“Basically there are closures and slow ramp-ups, so the consequence is we see some lower daily smelting output,” she explained.
August’s total aluminium smelting output is likely to be significantly impacted by Typhoon Lekima and any damage to the aluminium works in Shandong, she predicted.
Aluminium smelters’ margins rose along with production in the month, as production costs fell by 4 percent to US$1,976.69 per metric ton. Meanwhile, prices for aluminium at the Shanghai market increased by 0.4 percent in the course of the month.
Altogether, China’s production of non-ferrous metals (aluminium, antimony, lead, magnesium, mercury, nickel, tin, titanium, and zinc) in July was identical to that of June, totaling 4.9 million metric tons. Tied for the country’s second-highest total, July’s output was better by 2.6 percent on the year.