China imported 122,204mt of aluminium scrap in January and February, down by 40pc from 204,722mt in the prior-year period, on increased restrictions of scrap imports. The extension of the Chinese New Year break in January end due to the COVID-19 outbreak also impacted imports.
Malaysia was the top supplier of aluminium scrap to China in the period, and exported 40,926mt, up by 175pc from 14,838mt a year ago. Imports from the US, which was the top supplier last year, however, dropped from 70,333mt to 14,334mt, down by 80pc.
China imported 119,520mt of copper scrap in January and February down by 48pc from 231,962mt from the prior-year period. Malaysia continued to be the top supplier, and exported 33,928mt of scrap, marginally down by 3.6pc, followed by Japan which exported 16,534mt of copper scrap to China, down by 20pc from Jan-Feb 2019.
China exported 16,344mt of unwrought aluminium alloy in Jan-Feb 2020, down by 81pc from 86,071mt in the prior-year period, on low demand from Japan because of a slowdown in its auto sector along with a drop in production because of the COVID-19 outbreak. China exported 9,206mt of alloy to Japan in Jan-Feb 2020, down by 82pc from 50,572mt a year ago.
China imported 118,902mt of unwrought aluminium alloy in Jan-Feb 2020, up by 678pc from 15,281mt from the prior-year period. Alloy imports soared on stricter scrap import restrictions. Malaysia continued to be the top supplier, and exported 30,084mt to China, followed by South Korea which exported 21,962mt, followed by India which exported 10,226mt.
China’s Jan-Feb 2020 ferrous scrap imports tumbled by 98.56pc to 516mt from 36,053mt Jan-Feb 2019. The restrictions imposed by the government in terms of quotas lowered imports of ferrous scrap significantly. The country aims to restrict all ferrous scrap imports after H1 2020. Also, the country exported nil volume of ferrous scrap during Jan-Feb 2020.
China’s nickel ore imports in Jan-Feb’2020 fell 5.1pc from a year earlier ahead of a ban on exports from the largest supplier, Indonesia coming into effect. China imported 4.32mn mt from 4.55mn mt in Jan-Feb 2019. Major suppliers have warned shipments could drop amid COVID-19 disruption in the coming months.Indonesia exported 1.98mn mt, down by 18.1pc from the prior year and the Philippines supplied 2.01mn mt, up by 39.6pc from the prior year.
Nickel Pig Iron
During the same period, China’s imports of nickel pig iron, a raw material for stainless steel production, rose by 60.8pc from a year earlier to 473,059mt. The largest supplier Indonesia had almost doubled its exports to 403,575mt ahead of the export ban.