The aluminum import of China reached the highest annual record

Data released by the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday showed that although there is one month left of this year without statistics, the aluminum import of China reached the highest annual record, exceeding the previous highest point in 2009.

The General Administration of Customs said that China imported 188,973 tons of unforged aluminum and aluminum products in November.

According to calculations, imports in November fell by 26.4% compared to October, but increased by 158.6% compared to the same period last year. Imports from January to November were 2.44 million tons, a four-fold increase over the same period last year and surpassed the 2.32 million tons of imports of the whole year of 2009.

   China rarely imports large amounts of aluminum, but its rapid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis has pushed aluminum prices of Shanghai far higher than London prices this year, thus opening a so-called arbitrage window for cheap overseas metals. The aluminum price gap between Shanghai and London peaked in July, when China became a net importer for the first time in more than a decade. After that the arbitrage window was closed, but metal continued to flow in.

Although the overall import volume was higher than in 2009, a similar price difference also appeared at that time, as Chinese demand recovered from the global financial crisis; but the inflow of raw aluminum in 2020 (approximately 877,500 tons from January to October) is still far below the import volume of 1.5 million tons in 11 years ago. This is because the large increase in aluminum imports this year has been driven by the increase in the inflow of unforged aluminum and alloy aluminum, which exceeded 1 million tons from January to October.

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