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Aluminum defies trend as most metallics log output gains in November

Keywords: Tags  chinese output, iron ore, ferroalloys, aluminum, copper, zinc

SHANGHAI — Aluminum bucked the rising trend in Chinese metals production in November, with the light metal registering a seven-month low as other metallics reached new heights.

China’s primary aluminum producers were forced to reduce output in November due to a disruption in raw material supply from Indonesia.

Primary aluminum output of 1.66 million tonnes for the month marked the lowest monthly level since April but was still 20.7 percent higher year on year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Daily output averaged 55,466 tonnes last month, down from 55,484 tonnes per day in October.

January-to-November output was 18.16 million tonnes, up 12.3 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, other nonferrous metals saw gains, with copper and zinc output up 2.1 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, from October.

Refined copper output rose to 531,000 tonnes during the month on increased raw material demand, topping October’s historical high of 520,000 tonnes and 18.5 percent higher year on year.

Daily output of refined copper averaged 17,700 tonnes, up 5.5 percent from October.

Copper output for the first 11 months stood at 5.49 million tonnes, up 7.9 percent year on year.

Zinc output totaled 453,000 tonnes in November. Daily output also reached an 11-month high of 15,100 tonnes, up 10.9 percent month on month but down 3 percent year on year.

"The state reserve purchase somewhat helped smelters’ mood and expectations for the market outlook. It also lowered inventory pressures on smelters," Hu Ziqi, a Shanghai-based zinc analyst at Everbright Forex & Futures (HK) Ltd., told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

Market participants expect daily zinc output to remain high in December.

Ferroalloys output also rose in November, reaching a high for the year of 2.93 million tonnes, up 27.6 percent year on year, as smelters increased production on improved demand from steel mills.

Daily production averaged 97,333 tonnes during the month, up from 90,387 tonnes per day in October.

From January to November, China’s ferroalloys output reached 28.4 million tonnes, up 13.9 percent year on year.

Analysts expect ferroalloys output to be as high as 2.9 million tonnes in December, pushing the annual total to 32.3 million tonnes compared with 28.4 million tonnes in 2011, they said.

The country’s daily run-of-mine iron ore output also increased 3 percent month on month in November on stable iron ore prices.

China’s run-of-mine production was 4.15 million tonnes per day last month compared with 4.03 million tonnes daily in October. But the total is still lower than the record 4.3 million tonnes per day recorded in September.

"China’s (run-of-mine) output was supported by relatively stable iron ore prices, though steel prices fell during the month," an industry analyst in Beijing told AMM sister publication Steel First.

China’s 11-month run-of-mine output totaled 1.2 billion tonnes, up 1.1 percent year on year.

This was compiled from versions of various articles first published by AMM sister publications Metal Bulletin and Steel First.

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