China March aluminium imports rise 40.8% from prior month

First-quarter imports totalled 661,517 tonnes

  
Image for illustrative purpose. An employee checks aluminium ingots for export at China's Qingdao Port, Shandong province March 14, 2010.

Image for illustrative purpose. An employee checks aluminium ingots for export at China's Qingdao Port, Shandong province March 14, 2010.

REUTERS/Stringer

* China's aluminium imports in March rose 40.8% from the previous month, data released by the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.

* March imports of unwrought aluminium and products were 206,556 tonnes, up from February's nine-month low of 146,671 tonnes and up 70.9% year-on-year.

* First-quarter imports totalled 661,517 tonnes, up 118.8% from the same period in 2020.

* China, the world's top aluminium producer, brought in record volumes of the metal last year as strong demand took Shanghai prices higher than London prices, opening an arbitrage window for cheaper overseas metal.

* The arbitrage has mostly been closed in 2021 but briefly opened in mid-March as the spread between Shanghai and London prices hit its widest since July.

* China's imports of bauxite, the main ore source of aluminium, were up 0.8% y/y at 10.11 million tonnes in March, customs said. That was up from 8.66 million tonnes in February.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Tom Daly; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa) ((tom.daly@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 5669 2119;))

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