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China 2022 aluminium imports fall 26% on lower demand

China’s aluminium imports in 2022 fell 25.6% from a year earlier as COVID-restrictions reduced consumption amid record high domestic production.

Last year, the world’s biggest aluminium producer and consumer brought in 2.39 million tonnes of unwrought aluminium and products, which includes primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminium, according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Wednesday.

That compared with 3.2 million tonnes in 2021, a record year of shipments amid domestic supply disruptions caused by strict restrictions on industrial users.

Demand for the light metal used in construction, transportation and packaging sectors was hampered by China’s strict anti-coronavirus measures and its ailing property sector.

China’s 2022 aluminium output hits record high of 40.21mn tonnes

Economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy in 2022 slumped to one of its worst levels in nearly half.

Meanwhile, relaxed power curbs in 2022 boosted production among domestic suppliers, propelling output of primary aluminium to a record at 40.21 million tonnes.

Rising domestic supply lowered demand for imported material and weighed on domestic prices, resulting in unfavorable import conditions last year, traders said.

Monthly imports in December climbed 6.3% from a year earlier to 258,678 tonnes.

That came after China abruptly abandoned its zero-COVID policy and sparked hopes of rising demand for industrial metals.

Imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminium ore, were 10.15 million tonnes last month, up 17% from a year ago.

Bauxite imports totalled 125.47 million tonnes in 2022, an increase of 17% from 107.37 million imported in the previous year.

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