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China alumina prices rangebound; likely to edge down in near term

News Source:http://www.jinchemical.com/ ; SendDate:2015-1-7 14:48:51 
China's domestic alumina spot prices stood rangebound at the start of 2015 this week, but are likely to edge lower in the near term on the back of prevailing weak aluminum prices, market participants said Monday, January 5.

The Platts ex-works Henan alumina price continued at Yuan 2,790/mt ($456) for 70:30 cash and credit payment, unchanged from Friday and a week ago.

Refiners' offers stayed high at a minimum Yuan 2,800/mt cash, while smelters' asking levels stood around Yuan 2,750/mt.

In neighboring Shanxi province, offers were pegged at Yuan 2,750-2,800/mt cash, with tradable levels at Yuan 2,700-2,750/mt.
Down south in Guangxi, offers were pegged at a minimum Yuan 2,700/mt cash, with prices at a stable Yuan 2,650/mt.

Spot activity was lacking Monday as the market returned from extended New Year holidays from January 1-3.

"The market is very quiet. There's no trades and no queries, everyone wants to wait and see first, since we just came back," a Henan refiner said.

"We are still offering Yuan 2,800/mt cash for January spot, but no one is buying...smelters' talking levels are around Yuan 2,750/mt," he added.

Another Henan refiner who also quoted Yuan 2,800/mt cash Monday said prices may test lower levels in near term, especially if smelters started cutting back capacity or output.

But refiners agreed the downward movement will be limited as smelters in the western regions, such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, continued to expand.

Xinjiang Qiya Aluminum said Monday it aimed to raise capacity by 33% to 800,000 mt/year by end 2015 as costs remained low.

Actual output in 2015 is also expected to increase by 33% to 600,000 mt from 450,000 mt in 2014.

"There's talks of smelter cuts, but we doubt anyone will really cut back unless domestic metal prices fell below Yuan 12,500/mt," a South China smelter source said.

On Monday, the front-month January aluminum contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at Yuan 12,825/mt, down from Yuan 12,970/mt last week, and also from Yuan 13,420/mt a month ago.
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