China's aluminium imports in the first two months of 2021 rose 150.7% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as overseas metal booked at favourable prices continued to flow into the world's biggest aluminium market.
Imports of unwrought aluminium and products totalled 455,128 tonnes in January and February, the General Administration of Customs said, up from about 181,500 tonnes a year earlier.
In separate tables, customs gave the January import figure as 308,458 tonnes, up 262% year on year, and the February figure as 146,671 tonnes, up 52.3%. The December total was 265,569 tonnes.
China imported a record amount of aluminium in 2020 as a strong demand recovery after the coronavirus outbreak pushed Shanghai aluminium prices higher than London prices, opening up arbitrage for cheaper overseas metal.
The arb window shut at the end of last year but this week blew out to its widest since July as supply fears propelled aluminium prices to 9-1/2-year highs, paving the way for more imports.
China's bauxite imports in January and February totalled 17.06 million tonnes, down 7.1% year on year, customs said.
(Reporting by Tom Daly Editing by David Goodman ) ((email@example.com; +86 10 5669 2119;))