Aluminium stocks at Japan’s three main ports dropped for the first time this year in June, data from Marubeni Corp showed on Wednesday July 15.

At Nagoya, Yokohama and Osaka stocks of primary aluminium stood at 499,900 tonnes last month, down 0.5% month-on-month.

On a year-on-year basis, however, stocks were up 86%. Stocks at Yokohama stood at 254,900 tonnes, down 1.5% month-on-month.

At Nagoya stocks stood at 230,000 tonnes, up 0.7% month-on-month. At Osaka, stocks were flat at 15,000 tonnes.

Inventories had breached 500,000-tonne level in May when they rose by the largest amount this year.

Premium offers in Asia were up this week following settlement of the Japanese quarterly premium that sets the benchmark for the rest of the region.

Exports of China’s “fake semis” and huge aluminium inventories in Asia have kept premiums under pressure throughout this year.

Rampant aluminium production in Asia could yield the biggest global surplus since 2009, an analyst at Harbor Aluminum Intelligence Unit told Metal Bulletin sister title AMM.

Jesus Villegas, vp of aluminium analysis at US-based Harbor Aluminum, expects a 2.1-million-tonne global surplus in 2016, with Chinese production accounting for 1.8 million tonnes.

Deepali Sharma