Web Stories Thursday, February 29

BEIJING :China’s primary aluminium output climbed to a record in 2023 but the growth rate slowed, data showed on Wednesday, amid weather-related production curbs at smelters in the country’s southwest.

The world’s biggest aluminium producer churned out 41.59 million metric tons of primary aluminium last year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Output was boosted by strong operations in some of China’s main producing regions, amid profitable conditions, and new projects, chiefly in the northern Inner Mongolia region, that came online.

However, the annual growth rate of 3.7 per cent marked the third consecutive year of slowing, the data showed.

Output in 2023 grew modestly as capacity neared a government-imposed ceiling, and was affected by power shortages in the country’s southwest, state-backed research house Antaike said in a report.

China in 2018 set a national capacity cap of 45 million tons for aluminium as part of its efforts to control power consumption in the energy-intensive sector.

The industry had established total annual production capacity of 44.43 million tons by the end of 2023, Antaike said.

A drought in Yunnan, the country’s fourth-biggest aluminium-producing region, led to insufficient hydropower supply and local smelters were asked to cut production.

The constrained supply along with growing metal demand mainly from the renewable power sector pushed aluminium futures prices on the Shanghai Futures Exchange up by 9.1 per cent in 2023.

For December, China produced 3.59 million tons of aluminium, up 4.9 per cent from a year earlier, the data showed.

Output of the metal in 2024 is forecast to rise about 1 million tons, or 2.4 per cent, to 42.7 million tons, with new projects expected to start up in the third quarter, according to Beijing-based aluminium consultancy Aladdiny.

Production of 10 nonferrous metals, including copper, aluminium, lead, zinc and nickel, rose 7.1 per cent to 74.7 million tons in 2023, a record high, the NBS data showed.

Output in December increased 7.3 per cent from a year earlier to 6.59 million tons. The other non-ferrous metals are tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium and titanium.

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