June 25 – The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology are drafting plans to crack down on excess capacity of electrolytic aluminum in northwestern China. China was capable of producing 27 million tons of electrolytic aluminum in 2012, but 7 million tons of the capacity were left idle as 93% of industry players were operating in the red, according to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association. If unchecked, annual capacity of electrolytic aluminum is estimated to rise to 40 million tons by the end of 2015, well above the 24-million-ton target.
Source: Economic Information
June 21 – China's refined copper imports totaled 232,200 tons in May, up 7% month on month and down 23% year on year, rebounding from a 2-year low in April. Domestic refined copper output was up 18% year on year to 567,000 tons in May.
Source: China Customs
June 18 – China's soybean imports are expected to total 63 million tons in the year starting October 2013, lower than official US forecasts of 69 million tons, according to a survey by Bloomberg. An analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence said that China's demand for soybean meal plunged in April and May due to farmers culling poultry following a bird flu outbreak. As economic expansion cools and the nation cracks down on expensive dinner, demand for cooking oil and meat is slowing down.
June 18 – China's coal imports rose 5.6% year on year to 27.57 million tons in May. Total coal imports were 136.17 million tons between January and May.
Source: China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.
June 17 – UBS believes cement prices in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces have already bottomed out and could pick up gradually in Q3 2013 when the rainy season ends. Cement prices in the two provinces have decreased by 50-85 yuan per ton.
Source: UBS Hong Kong China Daily Comments
June 14 – China plans to scrap a decade-long licensing system for iron ore imports, eliminating middlemen and benefiting domestic steel mills, Reuters reported. China imported 743 million tons of iron ore in 2012 and will open up iron ore trade in 2H 2013.
Source: Deutsche Bank Metals & Mining Alert
June 13 – China's spot coal price has mostly floored, given 15-30% of the production is already at loss in Credit Suisse's estimates, due to low calorific value or high cost. While coal price may stay flat for longer, earnings risk is diminishing in the coming months, driven by shortfall in average selling price partly due to discount of midrange CV coal.
Source: Credit Suisse Asian Daily
June 13 – The peak season of Chinese demand for basic materials has ended early and demand has started to weaken in June. Other than select cement and air conditioner producers, most of the downstream and midstream producers, including home appliances and metal fabrication, saw declines in orders.
Source: Credit Suisse Asian Daily
June 10 – Daily crude steel output was 2.15 million tons in the final 10 days of May, or 786 million tons annualized, according to the China Iron and Steel Association. The daily output, which represented a 1.4% decline from mid-May and a 1.8% decline from early May, indicated major steelmakers had begun cutting production. Citi attributed this to a weak spread, and predicted steel prices would bottom out.
Source: Citi Asia Steel Sector Outlook
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