Imports into Japan, one of the largest aluminium alloy buyers in the world, dropped by 22.5pc in February from a year ago, due to weak demand in the country’s auto sector, according to Davis Index analysis.

 

Japan imported 67,391mt of unwrought aluminium alloy in February, down by 19,581mt from a year ago. Shipments from China, traditionally the largest exporter of aluminium alloy to Japan, dropped by 87pc to 3,459mt, from 26,340mt in Feb 2019 due to shutdowns in China’s production after the outbreak of COVID-19. Japan sourced 15,382mt of aluminium alloy from the UAE, up by 2.9pc from a year ago and 15,028mt from Russia, up by 18.2pc. 

 

Copper scrap

Japan’s copper scrap imports also dropped by 39.4pc in February from Feb 2019. Japan imported 12,417mt of copper scrap in February, down from 20,491mt in Feb 19. Exports from Saudi Arabia dropped by 23pc to 2,061mt, and by 39pc to 1,870mt from Thailand. Imports into Japan from the US declined the most by 68.5pc to 1,448mt.

 

Ferrous scrap exports

Japan’s ferrous scrap exports rose by 33pc to 889,593mt in Feb 2020, from 669,160mt in Feb 2019. Exports in February rose by 35.76pc from 655,254mt in January. 

 

In February, exports to Vietnam were the highest 355,722mt, up by 113pc from the prior-year period, followed by 280,596mt to South Korea, down by 30pc, 106,643mt to Taiwan, up by 189pc and 65,122mt to Bangladesh, up by 61pc. 

Country % of February exports
Vietnam40
South Korea32
Taiwan 12
Bangladesh7
Others9

In Jan-Feb 2020, the country exported 1.54mn mt ferrous scrap, up by 29.8pc from 1.16mn mt in the prior-year period.

Weak steel demand in Japanese markets lowered domestic ferrous scrap consumption and resulting higher exports in February. The COVID-19 spread also impacted global steel and ferrous scrap prices negatively in the first quarter 2020. Japanese scrap yards liquidated their inventories with sales in Vietnam and South Korea.   

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