The world's top producer of the metal churned out 2.98 million tonnes of aluminium last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
That was up 0.2% from June and is the second-highest monthly total on record on the bureau's website after 3.05 million tonnes in December, although the bureau said on Wednesday the July number was down 2% year-on-year.
On a daily basis, output averaged around 96,000 tonnes in July, according to Reuters calculations. That was down from around 99,000 tonnes in June, which had one fewer day and had seen the highest daily rate on record.
Some 220,000 tonnes of annual Chinese aluminium production was cut in July, including China Zhongwang Holding's smelter in the northeastern province of Liaoning, research house Antaike said in a note on Aug. 6. Zhongwang declined to comment to Reuters.
Jackie Wang, an aluminium consultant at CRU in Beijing, agreed that the Zhongwang closure had the biggest impact last month but also said a smelter ramp-up in the southwestern Guangxi region was progressing slower than expected.
"Basically there are closures and slow ramp-ups, so the consequence is we see some lower daily smelting output," Wang said. August production will depend how lasting the impact of flooding caused by Typhoon Lekima in the smelting heartland of Shandong is, she added.
Production costs for aluminium smelters in China fell 4% month-on-month to an average of 13,888 yuan ($1,976.69) a tonne in July as alumina prices slumped, Antaike said. Shanghai aluminium prices edged up 0.4% over July.
Meanwhile, July production of 10 nonferrous metals - including copper, aluminium, lead, zinc and nickel - was flat month-on-month at 4.9 million tonnes, equalling the second-highest monthly total on record. That was also up 2.6% year-on-year, the bureau said.
The other non-ferrous metals are tin, antimony, mercury, magnesium and titanium.
(Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Joseph Radford)
By Tom Daly