SHANGHAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) - China remained a net importer
of aluminium for a second consecutive month, with August imports
surging eight-fold from a year earlier as traders took advantage
of lower overseas prices.
Imports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products into
China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of
the metal, came to 429,464 tonnes last month, the highest in
more than 11 years, the General Administration of Customs said
August imports were the highest monthly tally since April
2009, beating July's strong reading. Imports rose from 52,121
tonnes in August 2019, and were up 9.8% from July this year.
Import volumes were higher than its export total of 395,424
tonnes for August.
China's monthly aluminium imports had been seeing
year-on-year gains since May as price arbitrage made it cheaper
for domestic buyers to source overseas metal.
Shanghai aluminium prices had risen sharply in
April and May as China recovered from a coronavirus-related
demand collapse, and are currently trading around over two-year
Sluggish consumption in the rest of the world had capped
prices of the metal on the London Metal Exchange.
The spread between Shanghai and London cash aluminium prices
had created an arbitrage opportunity for aluminium
imports into China from overseas.
Customs is due to release a breakdown of imports by origin
and type of aluminium and other commodities on Friday.
(Reporting by Emily Chow, editing by Louise Heavens and Kim