China's July aluminium imports fall 38% on-year as domestic output jumps

BEIJING, Aug 18 (Reuters) - China’s aluminium imports in July slid 38.3% from a year earlier, government data showed on Thursday, as domestic production rose to a record and overseas supplies tightened.

The country brought in 192,581 tonnes of unwrought aluminium and products, including primary metal and unwrought, alloyed aluminium, last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

The fall in imports was partly attributed to a rise in domestic supply this year.

China, the world’s biggest metals producer and consumer, made a record 3.43 million tonnes of aluminium in July as smelters did not have to contend with the power restrictions imposed last year.

Outside China, sky-high energy prices have constrained the production of aluminium, which requires large amounts of electricity. Producers in Europe and the United States have had to scale down their output because of squeezed profit margins.

The closure of an arbitrage window between the markets in Shanghai and London also led to a fall in imports.

Total imports in the first seven months were 1.27 million tonnes, down 28.1% from the same period a year ago.

Imports of bauxite, the main source of aluminium ore, were at 10.59 million tonnes last month, up 12.4% from June’s 9.42 million, and compared with 9.25 million in July a year earlier, according to the data. (Reporting by Siyi Liu and Emily Chow; editing by Richard Pullin and Christian Schmollinger)