Aluminium Price in China Marked a Slight Monthly Uptrend in China in January 2024

Aluminium Price in China

In January 2024, aluminium prices in the Chinese market experienced an inclining trend, primarily propelled by supply constraints and strategic market developments throughout 2023. According to Procurement Resource, there was a notable 1.58% increase in the prices of Aluminium in China compared to December 2023. A critical factor contributing to this rise was a reduction in China's aluminium production capacity, especially evident in regions like Yunnan, where power shortages hampered operations.

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Oil Terminal Explosion in Conarky

A pivotal moment in the aluminium price escalation was observed in the futures market, with the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) witnessing a dramatic 30% surge in the price of alumina – a key intermediary in aluminium production - in the final lap of December extended in January.

This surge was partly attributed to an incident causing an explosion at an oil terminal in Conakry, Guinea, on December 18th. Guinea, a vital supplier of bauxite to China, saw its market plunge into turmoil following the blast. Although the direct impact on the country's mining operations or shipping activities was not immediately evident, the incident sent ripples through the supply chain, intensifying concerns over raw material availability.

Government’s Intervention Added to Supply Disruption in China

Back in China, the end of 2023 was marked by disruptions in bauxite supply due to government-mandated closures of mines in northern regions for inspections. Owing to Chinese Government’s take on environmental and energy regulations, several alumina refineries had to either shut down or scale back their operations to meet the set targets.

This tightening of government policies and the ensuing shortage of domestic bauxite supply effectively removed over six million tons of annual alumina capacity from the Chinese market, tightening the supply chain and setting the stage for the price hikes observed in January 2024.

Speculative Interest by Traders Lifted Aluminium Prices in China in January 2024

The surge in aluminium prices in January 2024 was largely driven by the volatility and speculative trading introduced by the newly established Shanghai alumina futures market (ShFE). The ShFE's launch marked a significant shift, creating a platform for intense speculative interest and hedging, which, coupled with supply concerns stemming from events like the Guinea incident, significantly impacted market sentiments.

The consequential spike in alumina prices, fueled by trading volumes exceeding 68 million tons on the ShFE, directly influenced the aluminium market. As a result, the aluminium industry witnessed price escalations, reflecting the intricate interplay between supply concerns, market speculation, and the emerging role of the Shanghai alumina futures market as a critical price indicator.

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According to the article by Procurement Resource, aluminium prices in China surged by 1.58% in January 2024 due to various factors: reduced production capacity, a dramatic 30% hike in Shanghai Futures Exchange alumina prices, and speculative trading. Events like the Conakry oil terminal explosion and government-led supply disruptions further tightened the market, escalating prices.


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