China aluminium output hits record-monthly high in August

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s primary aluminium output in August rose by 3.1% from a year prior to an all-time monthly high, data released on Friday showed, as production in the southwestern province of Yunnan continued to ramp up after hydropower generation recovered.

The world’s biggest aluminium producer churned out 3.6 million metric tons of primary aluminium last month, showed data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Versus a month earlier, output rose 3.4%. Average daily output in August was 116,129 tons, Reuters calculations showed.

During the reporting month, 390,000 tons of annual capacity, or 32,500 tons of monthly capacity, resumed production, mostly in Yunnan, showed a survey by consultancy Mysteel.

Authorities ordered firms in China’s fourth-biggest aluminium producing region to cut output from September 2022 until June due to insufficient hydropower capacity brought about by drought.

Operations have increased in Yunnan during the third quarter of the year, offsetting falling output in Shandong province where capacity was shut as planned to meet carbon emissions targets.

Production also climbed in Yunnan as profit margins rose after metal prices found support from a series of economic measures the government issued to help the property market.

Housing, together with transportation and packaging, is the main consuming sector of the light metal.

The most-traded aluminium contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange gained 3.8% last month, the biggest monthly increase since November.

In the first eight months of this year, China produced 27.23 million tons of aluminium, a rise of 2.9% from the same period last year, the data showed.

Output in September is widely expected to match August’s level as most capacity in Yunnan has resumed.

Production of 10 nonferrous metals – including copper, aluminium, lead, zinc and nickel – rose 6.1% to 6.29 million tons from a year earlier, an all-time monthly high.

Year-to-date output was up 6.8% at 48.56 million tonnes.

The other non-ferrous metals are tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium and titanium.

(Reporting by Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Christopher Cushing)