When the largest aluminum producer on earth keeps reporting high import figures, the world sits up and takes note.
According to figures released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs a few days ago, China recorded a new high for aluminum imports in March 2021.
Stop obsessing about the actual forecasted aluminum price. It’s more important to spot the trend.
China aluminum imports surge in March
Imports went up 40.8% from February 2021, taking first quarter imports to a total of 661,517 tons. The quarterly total marked an increase of 118.8% from the same period in 2020.
China has been on this aluminum importing spree since July 2020. China’s aluminum imports last year, including primary aluminum and unwrought alloy, surpassed the previous annual record set in 2009.
What’s more, Shanghai aluminum prices last week were at their highest since 2010. China had bought in record volumes of the metal in 2020, riding on an uptick in domestic demand. Strong demand pushed the Shanghai prices higher than London prices, opening an arbitrage window for cheaper overseas metal.