China's Indonesia-led bauxite supply fears ease as cargoes return: sources
Singapore (Platts)--28Nov2012/534 am EST/1034 GMT
Chinese bauxite supply concerns have eased recently on an ongoing
rebound in shipments after having plunged in the summer on the back of export
rule changes from major global bauxite producer Indonesia, importing refiners
"Our shipments from Indonesia are returning to normal, about the same as
earlier in the year before the new export policies took effect in May," a
Shandong refiner source said.
"Shipments resumed in September, but the amount was about 50-60% less
than normal," he said. "But now we're getting about 200,000 mt/month again."
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The refiner, who had been importing 200,000-300,000 mt/month before May,
had seen shipments from Indonesia halted from June to August.
Indonesian shipments plummeted in June to just 187,355 mt from 2.75
million mt a year ago, and 5.56 million mt on May. May was particularly busy
as imports spiked prior to the imposition of the policy changes.
Another Shandong refiner also said Wednesday its shipments have returned
to normal in recent months.
"We saw two shipments arrive in October, at 50,000 mt each, and that's
our usual import level," a Lubei source said. "We've even placed orders for
another 300,000 mt to be delivered between November and December, as we need
to stock up for winter, and our supplier has no issues with that at all."
Imports of bauxite into China for October rose 26.2% on the month from
1.7 million mt in September, figures from the General Administration of
Customs of China showed. October was nevertheless down 30.6% on year.
But prices from Indonesia are yet to soften despite better supply.
"It's very hard for prices to come down again. The whole export policy
move was to push prices up. There's still a 20% export tax as well," a third
importing refiner said.
Indonesian bauxite prices were pegged around $58/dmt CFR China
currently, compared with around $45/mt CFR China in the first half of 2012.
Total bauxite imports for the first 10 months stood at 32.92 million mt,
down 8.7% from the same period in 2011.
Indonesia imposed a 20% tax on bauxite exports in May, as well as
revoking mining and export permits of certain companies. The curbs were part
of a drive to encourage local processing of metal ores.
--Yuencheng Mok, email@example.com
--Edited by Martin O'Rourke, firstname.lastname@example.org