An explosion at an aluminium smelter in Yunnan and energy supply cuts conspired to hold China’s aluminium output in November slightly below the prior month’s total. Such was the story told by production numbers released by Beijing last week.
Per production numbers, the Middle Kingdom produced 3.10 million metric tons of aluminium last month, just under October’s total production of 3.132 million metric tons and lower by 1.8 percent on the year.
Reuters calculated that the per-day production average of aluminium by China in November averaged 103,300 metric tons, slightly above October’s average of 101,000 metric tons.
Paul Adkins of AZ China told Reuters that the Chinese aluminium sector is beginning to level off.
“Some smelters have started to return to previous levels,” he explained.
“Generally, we don’t see a rush to return (to production), but equally, the market is very stable right now.”
Adkins continued by noting that production would likely hold steady through January.
Meanwhile, Chinese consultancy Baiinfo noted the squeeze to available power to aluminium smelters throughout the country due to environmental concerns and regional shortages, which peaked in October. Output by aluminium smelters in Qinghai, Guangxi, and Chongqing suffered slightly because of it last month.
Baiinfo also noted the unexpected cut from a plant in Yunnan province due to an explosion that occurred on November 18. The mishap halted production at the 300 thousand metric ton per annum plant.
Despite the sector’s struggles in November, the year-to-date production was still up by 5.7 percent on the year at 35.45 million metric tons. The eleven-month total set a pace for the country that would have it close out the year with a record aluminium production.