Global aluminum production picks up in December; China’s ’19 output down from ’18

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Global aluminum production ticked up in December 2019 to 5.44 million tons, up from 5.26 million in November 2019, according to recent data from the International Aluminum Institute.

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However, December 2019 production was down slightly from December 2018, when it reached 5.50 million tons.

Chinese aluminum production hit 3.05 million tons in December, up from 2.95 million tons in November but down from 3.14 million tons in December 2018.

As MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller noted in her Aluminum MMI report, SHFE prices last month trended sideways and could continue to do so.

“While recent lows remained somewhat higher during December, price highs have not yet exceeded September’s levels,” Fuller explained. “However, SHFE prices did not drop as far back as LME prices over the course of the year, with annual lows for 2019 occurring in January.

“Analysts do not anticipate a significant uptick in demand until after the Lunar New Year. This year, the holiday commences fairly early (on Jan. 25).

“Based on flat demand growth, reflected in the failure of prices to push above the critical CNY 14,500/mt price level and due to new capacity developments, SHFE aluminum prices look set to continue moving sideways (at least for now).”

In 2019, Chinese production reached an estimated 35.8 million tons, which marked a decline from the 36.5 million tons produced in 2018.

Global aluminum production in 2019 reached 63.7 million tons, down from 64.3 million tons in 2018.

However, Fuller noted China’s production could be on the upswing in 2020, powered by capacity increases at the Henan Shenhuo smelter in Yunnan province.

Aluminum production ex-China reached 368,000 tons, up from 357,000 tons the previous month and down from 381,000 tons in December 2018.

Asian production ex-China could also be set to receive a boost in the coming years, as Bloomberg reported Indonesia’s state-run aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminum is aiming to triple its annual aluminum capacity to 750,000 tons, with plans to build a 500,000-ton shelter in Borneo.

North American production reached 324,ooo tons, up from 311,000 tons in November but down from 329,000 tons in December 2018.

Production in western Europe reached 294,000 tons, up from 282,000 tons in December. Meanwhile, in central and eastern Europe, production reached 357,000 tons, up from 345,000 tons the previous month.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

In Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, production reached 499,000 tons, up from 481,000 tons the previous month.

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