China’s alumina exports into Russia continue to soar in May; China becomes net exporter

China’s alumina exports into Russia jumped again in May amid steady demand from the latter country to plug its shortfall due to its invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against it

China exported 153,362 tonnes of alumina into Russia in May, bringing the year-to-date total to 287,840 tonnes, a 417-fold increase from the same period last year, according to Chinese customs data released on Monday, June 20.

Total alumina exports from China reached 188,768 tonnes in May, of which 31,191 tonnes were shipped to the United Arab Emirates, customs data showed.

While China is traditionally a net importer of alumina - barring a brief period in 2018 - it has been a net exporter of alumina since late March. Sources suggest this could continue because of Russia’s demand to fill its shortage and a domestic oversupply.

“The exports [into Russia] could continue till the end of the year unless the war ends and their production recovers,” a Shanghai-based industry source said.

“Southeast Asian countries have exported more, so I think Rusal is still well-covered,” a second alumina trader said.

Russian aluminium giant Rusal has lost roughly 40% of alumina supply since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

China imported 71,455 tonnes of alumina in May, down by 2.7% month on month and down by 50.8% year on year, according to the customs data.

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