China April aluminium output hits record high as output curbs ease

An employee works at the production line of aluminium rolls at a factory in Zouping, Shandong province, China November 23, 2019. Picture taken November 23, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

May 17 (Reuters) - China's aluminium production in April rose to a record monthly volume, official data showed on Monday, after a relaxation of output curbs in Inner Mongolia boosted supply.

Primary aluminium output in China, by far the world's biggest producer of the metal, was 3.35 million tonnes in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was up 2.3% from 3.276 million tonnes in March and 12.4% higher than production in April 2020.

In the first four months of the year, China produced 13.02 million tonnes, a rise of 9.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, the data showed.

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April's daily output was 111,667 tonnes, a record high, versus 105,700 daily tonnes in March, which has one more day.

"Record high daily and monthly production are mainly due to high prices and ramp-ups of new capacity in China," said Wan Ling, aluminium analyst at CRU research.

Shanghai aluminium prices rose to multi-year highs during a stellar rally in recent weeks, giving smelters strong incentive to produce more.

Prices topped 20,000 yuan ($3,106.70) per tonne last week, hitting their highest since 2011, and were trading around 19,800 yuan on Monday morning.

Inner Mongolia had ended curbs on energy consumption in April, allowing smelters in Baotou to restart shuttered capacity.

On May 1, the 100,000-tonne-per-year first phase of the Zhongrui Aluminium smelter in Gansu, in northwest China, taken over last month by Hangzhou Jinjiang, was restarted after a three-year shutdown.

Meanwhile, production of 10 nonferrous metals - including copper, aluminium, lead, zinc and nickel – rose 11.6 percent to 5.48 million tonnes from a year earlier. Year-to-date output of the ten metals was up 11.5 percent at 21.43 million tonnes.

The other non-ferrous metals are tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium and titanium.

($1 = 6.4377 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Reporting by Tom Daly and Emily Chow; Editing by Neil Fullick and Tom Hogue

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