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Current situation of aluminum market in China

Addtime:2014-11-12

According to the China Economic Nonferrous Metals Industry Prosperity Index, since 2014, the non-ferrous metals prosperity index has rebounded from 48.6 points at the beginning of the year to 56.9 points in September. Generally speaking, it is in the “cold” range in the first quarter, and from the “cold side” in the second quarter. "" interval transitioned to "normal" interval; the third quarter remained in the "normal" interval. Judging from the changes in the operation of China’s aluminum industry, structural adjustments have been further advanced in the first three quarters of 2014, but the smelting and processing industries have become more and more distinct in their trends. The main manifestations are: the aluminum smelting industry is still "cold", while aluminum rolling The operation of the industry is more consistent with the monitoring results of the non-ferrous metals prosperity index.




Interpretation of the operation of the aluminum industry from January to August 2014




Combined with the analysis of the China Economic Nonferrous Metals Industry Prosperity Index, the operation of the aluminum industry mainly shows the characteristics of continued slowdown in production growth, steady progress in layout adjustment, further optimization of the investment structure, and increased differentiation of smelting and processing benefits. The specific analysis is as follows:




(1) Production growth continues to slow down




From January to August 2014, the national alumina output was 30.6 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 5.4%, a decrease of 5 percentage points from the same period last year; the output of electrolytic aluminum was 15.55 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 7.6%, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points from the same period last year; The output of aluminum was 30.82 million tons, an increase of 19.3% year-on-year and a decrease of 5.8 percentage points from the same period last year.




(2) Layout adjustment is advancing steadily




Alumina production capacity is mainly distributed in areas rich in bauxite resources; overall electrolytic aluminum production capacity continues to show a trend of shifting from high-cost areas in the east and middle to energy-rich western areas; aluminum processing capacity is gradually being supplied to raw materials from consumption areas地distribution. Among them, the layout adjustment effect of the electrolytic aluminum industry is the most significant. From January to August 2014, the production of electrolytic aluminum in western my country increased by 13.3% year-on-year, which was 5.7 percentage points higher than the national average. In particular, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and other six regions have a total output of 8.53 million tons, an increase of 15% year-on-year, which is 7.5 percentage points higher than the national level.




(3) Further optimization of investment structure




Fixed asset investment in my country's aluminum smelting industry has declined since 2013, and the rate of decline accelerated in 2014. From January to August 2014, China's aluminum smelting industry (including electrolytic aluminum, alumina and secondary aluminum) completed fixed asset investment of 35.5 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 33.9%, and aluminum rolling processing industry completed fixed asset investment of 118.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 24.1 %. It can be seen that under the combined effect of regulatory policies such as Guofa Document No. 41 and market forces, the overheated investment in aluminum smelting has been eased, the investment structure of the aluminum industry is extending downstream, and structural adjustments are continuously optimized.




(4) Imports and exports of unwrought aluminum are basically the same




With the expansion of non-alloy aluminum import profitability, the import volume has increased significantly; driven by the positive external demand, the export volume of aluminum alloy continues to rise. From January to August 2014, the import of unwrought aluminum was 310,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 37.6%, of which non-alloy aluminum imports were 250,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 62.8%, and aluminum alloy imports were 60,000 tons, a year-on-year decrease of 16.9%; Aluminum exports were 440,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 24.4%, of which non-alloy aluminum exports were 80,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 25.4%, and aluminum alloy exports were 360,000 tons, a year-on-year increase of 24.1%. It can be seen that the import and export of unwrought aluminum is basically flat, with a net import of 170,000 tons of non-alloy aluminum and a net export of 300,000 tons of aluminum alloy.




(5) The import structure of aluminum resources has been adjusted




Indonesia’s policy to ban bauxite exports has not changed. Since April 2014, the number of bauxite imports from Indonesia has dropped to zero. The structure of my country's aluminum resource import is gradually changing from over-reliance on Indonesian bauxite, which is mainly reflected in the decline in bauxite imports and relatively scattered sources. Australia has replaced Indonesia as my country's largest importer. From January to August 2014, the import of bauxite was 25.11 million tons, a year-on-year decrease of 45.6%. Among them, imports from Australia, Brazil, and Ghana accounted for 35%, 23.7%, and 23.5% respectively. At the same time, the number of alumina imports has increased significantly. From January to August 2014, alumina imports were 3.58 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 76.6%.




(6) Increased differentiation of benefits in upstream and downstream industries




Although the aluminum price rebounded in the third quarter, the recovery was limited due to supply pressure. The average aluminum price was still lower than the average cost of the electrolytic aluminum industry, and the efficiency of the aluminum smelting industry further declined. From January to August 2014, the aluminum smelting industry lost 10.1 billion yuan, an increase of 4.6 billion yuan over the same period last year. Benefiting from factors such as sluggish aluminum prices and stable demand, aluminum rolling made a profit of 27.7 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 9.2%.




Outstanding features of aluminum industry operation in the third quarter of 2014




(1) Electrolytic aluminum companies seek changes in the way they use electricity




Among the production costs of electrolytic aluminum enterprises in my country, the cost of electricity remains high, accounting for more than 40%. As a result, electricity prices have become a decisive factor in the competitiveness of electrolytic aluminum enterprises in my country. At present, there are four main sources of electricity for electrolytic aluminum enterprises, namely: public network power supply, self-supplied power plant and public network connection power supply, self-supplied power plant plus local area network power supply, and direct purchase of electricity. Except for the local area network, the other three ways of using electricity are all affected by the public network. In the current highly monopolistic situation of the power grid, most companies can only passively accept the network fee proposed by the power grid, and only a few large-scale enterprises that have a prominent impact on the local economy can obtain a relatively low grid fee. Therefore, in areas where conditions permit, some companies have attempted to change the traditional power supply method and explore the appropriate deployment of local area networks to reduce electricity costs.




(2) Aluminum prices at home and abroad have rebounded strongly, but the motivation is insufficient




In the third quarter of 2014, the Shanghai aluminum price rebounded strongly, from 13,360 yuan/ton in early July to 15,040 yuan/ton in early September, a new high this year, with an increase of 2.3%. However, in the process of price rebound, along with the resumption of production of some closed production capacity and the restart of overhaul of troughs, and the fundamentals of supply and demand did not fundamentally improve, the recovery of aluminum prices was insufficient, and the price of aluminum fell to 13,755 yuan/ton in the second half of the third quarter.




(3) The price of aluminum resource products rose sharply




In the third quarter of 2014, the average spot price of domestic alumina rose from RMB 2,400/ton at the beginning of July to RMB 2,800/ton at the end of September. Especially in September, the price of domestic alumina rose rapidly, rising by nearly RMB 400/ton from the previous month. . In the third quarter, coal prices declined, which to a certain extent alleviated the cost pressure of electrolytic aluminum companies due to the rise in alumina prices.




The current aluminum industry is facing problems and related suggestions




In view of the basic operating conditions and characteristics of the current aluminum industry, there are still the following three issues that restrict the healthy development of the industry, as follows:




(1) Resolving the contradiction of overcapacity of electrolytic aluminum faces many obstacles




Resolving the contradiction of overcapacity of electrolytic aluminum is still one of the key tasks of the aluminum industry. At present, the new production capacity has been controlled, and backward production capacity has been basically eliminated before the end of the year, but the problem of exiting high-cost production capacity still remains. The exit of high-cost production capacity in the central and eastern regions faces many obstacles, mainly related to corporate debt, bank loans, personnel placement, local finance, the impact on the upstream and downstream industrial chain, and historical legacy.




Therefore, it is recommended that the state establish operable supporting policies in tax reduction and exemption, debt exemption, and compensation for employee placement.




(2) Insufficient guidance and support for expanding the application of policies




Expanding the application of aluminum is the most fundamental and effective measure to resolve the overcapacity of electrolytic aluminum. In recent years, we have conducted a lot of research on the promotion of aluminum applications. It is estimated that if the application of all-aluminum trailers in the transportation field and aluminum alloy formwork and enclosure panels in the construction field can be realized, it can increase the consumption of aluminum by 20 million tons. However, the above-mentioned consumption stimulus still needs to be guided and supported by policies. For example, the objective existence of all-aluminum trailers due to large production investment, expensive vehicle prices, and the need to strengthen management in the transportation industry, has caused difficulties in expanding market applications for all-aluminum trailers.




To this end, it is recommended to set up a "major special project for the promotion of aluminum applications" to provide support and advancement from financial, market, and standards to expand the application of aluminum.




(3) The security of aluminum resources will have a certain impact on the aluminum industry




Global bauxite resources are very rich. However, in recent years, my country's primary aluminum resource dependence on foreign sources has remained at around 50%. In view of the implementation of Indonesia's policy of prohibiting the export of bauxite, the demand for this part of bauxite must be guaranteed by looking for resources from other countries. However, most areas with rich bauxite resources and higher grades have problems such as long distances, poor infrastructure, and unstable political environments.




For this reason, it is recommended to give certain overseas investment policy support to enterprises that go out to develop overseas resources or build alumina plants in qualified countries and regions, including finance, credit, foreign trade, etc., to increase the amount of overseas equity resources and resources Supply, ease the pressure on domestic bauxite supply and ensure the sustainable development of China’s aluminum industry.




Trend forecast of aluminum industry in the fourth quarter of 2014




In September 2014, the leading index of the non-ferrous metal industry was 86.5 points, which has fallen for three consecutive months, indicating that there is downward pressure on the operation of the non-ferrous metal industry in the near future. At the same time, combined with the analysis of the operation of the aluminum industry in the first three quarters of 2014, there will be no trend change in the operating conditions of the aluminum industry in the fourth quarter of 2014. Preliminary forecast: The output of aluminum products will grow steadily, but the growth rate will fall. In 2014, the output of alumina, electrolytic aluminum, and aluminum will reach 46 million tons, 24 million tons, and 47 million tons, respectively, an increase of 4%, 9%, and 18% from 2013. From the perspective of layout, electrolytic aluminum production capacity will continue to shift to the west. The structural adjustment of the aluminum industry will continue to deepen, the investment in the aluminum smelting industry will continue to decline, and the investment in the aluminum processing industry will grow steadily. Aluminum prices at home and abroad will remain at a low level, and even if there is a phased rebound, its recovery will be relatively limited. Aluminum consumption will still be based in the country. Affected by the macroeconomic policies of major aluminum consumption industries such as real estate and automobiles, the growth rate of aluminum consumption is relatively stable.



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