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Trade Between China and Russia Soars for Aluminum and Alumina in 2022

Trade Between China and Russia Soars for Aluminum and Alumina in 2022

Trade Between China and Russia Soars for Aluminum and Alumina in 2022

  • 03-Feb-2023 3:52 PM
  • Journalist: Patricia Jose Perez

China: China's imports of primary Aluminum from Russia jumped for the sixth month in a row in December 2022, according to customs data released on Jan. 20. This comes as China's total Aluminum imports from other countries have dropped significantly during the same period. Meanwhile, exports of Alumina between the two countries also increased substantially.

In December 2022, China's primary Aluminum imports surged to 127,646 mt, a 15.3% increase from the previous month and a 55.8% jump from the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, overall imports for the year of 2022 decreased by 65.8% to 540,409 mt compared to 2021.

China's imports of Aluminum from Russia rose 47.6% in December 2022, reaching 82,833 metric tons - accounting for 64.9% of the country's total imports in the same month. Moreover, Alumina exports from China skyrocketed 741.4% year on year to a total of 1 million metric tons in that year with 57,349 mt shipped abroad just in December compared to only 3,969 mt over the same period in 2021.

December was a great month for Chinese Alumina exports to Russia, with shipments increasing 54.6% compared to the same period last year and reaching 51,781 mt. This accounted for 90.3% of China's total Alumina exports during the month. Meanwhile, imports of Alumina decreased by 36.7% on the month and 51.3% on the year, reaching 124,193 mt in December.

Chinese imports from its largest supplier Australia dropped 12.2% in December 2022, to 64,000 metric tons. Imports from Indonesia fell even further, plummeting 67% over the same period, to 29,770 metric tons.

Australian Alumina prices were largely unchanged compared to Chinese imports on January 20th.

In December, Australian Alumina was priced at a discount of $5-$10/mt on import parity terms relative to the cost of Chinese production.

China's Alumina market saw an increase in prices from November that continued into December, as production levels returned to normal following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and related logistical improvements.

China saw a substantial increase in their bauxite imports during 2022, with the total reaching 125.5 million metric tons. The 17% year-on-year jump is seen as a sign of continued growth that can be expected in 2023 due to the new projects being launched this year.

China's imports of Bauxite ore from Guinea – the country's largest supplier – reached an all-time high in December 2022. A whopping 10.1 million metric tons of bauxite ore were imported during the month, a decrease of 13.9% compared to November, but a staggering 17% increase year on year. From Guinea alone, 6.2 million metric tons of ore were imported: marking a 64.9% rise over the previous month and a 75.8% surge since December last year.

In 2022, imports from Indonesia hit 1 million mt, a decrease of 26.3% from the prior month and 55.6% from the same period last year. To stimulate local resource processing and in keeping with current mining laws, Indonesia will cease Bauxite ore exports beginning in June. Chinese consumers are on the search for different sources of supply because of these measures.

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