Aluminium smelter restarts and a recovery in prices helped drive up China’s output last month, pushing production up by 2.4 percent on the year. Such was the story told by numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday.
May saw 2.98 million metric tons of aluminium roll out of Chinese smelters, up by 2.1 percent on the month from April’s total of 2.92 million metric tons. Per Reuters’ calculations, the per-day total averaged 96,129 metric tons, off from April’s average of 97,200 metric tons over one less day.
Through the opening 5 months of 2019 the Middle Kingdom smelted 14.45 million metric tons of primary aluminium, an increase of 2.7 percent on the year.
Although production rose in May, prices at the Shanghai exchange provided little support for the increased output. May’s 0.4-percent fall reversed a 3.3-percent spike in April, which pushed prices above the CNY14,000 per metric ton mark, which is commonly used as a delineation between profitable production and producing at a loss.
Imported alumina rose significantly in April, doubling to 60 thousand metric tons, and experts expect that plant closures in Shanxi will help maintain that trend in May and June.
Overall, China’s total nonferrous production for the year through May totaled 23.41 million metric tons, an increase of 4 percent from last year’s first five months. Last month witnessed production of all non-ferrous metals stay abreast of April’s total of 4.74 million metric tons, up by 2.2 percent on the year.