The US-China trade war and large scale smelter outages were just some of the factors responsible for a decline in China’s aluminium production for the first time in 10 years.
The country’s aluminum output dropped to 35.04mn mt in 2019 down 0.9pc from 2018 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data. According to research house Antaike, Chinese aluminium consumption was set to fall for the first time in 30 years 2019.
Some top producers like Hongqiao Group closed some lines because of heavy flooding in the province while the Xinfa group suffered an explosion at their site, both of which impacted production numbers during the year.
According to NBS, aluminium output was down by 0.7pc from an all time high in December 2018, however output rose by 4.9pc in Dec 2019 from the previous month. In fact, Dec 2019 saw almost 1mn mt of aluminium smelting restarting as mills completed their repairs in time for higher demand. The start up of Henan Shen hou’s new plant in Yunnan is expected to give a further boost to production in Jan 2020.
China’s total output for all the 10 non-ferrous metals including copper, lead, zinc, nickel, and aluminium increased to 5.31mn mt in Dec 2019 from 5.11mn mt in Nov 2019. The total output in 2019 for the non-ferrous group including tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium, and titanium rose to 58.42mn mt up by 3.5pc compared to 2018.