China in midst of starting 5 mil-6 mil mt/year alumina capacity by end-2018
http://www.chemnet.com Oct 11,2018 S&P Global PlattsSingapore — A swathe of new alumina capacity being started up in China since the third quarter could see 5 million-6 million mt/year added by the end of 2018, sources said Wednesday.
Shandong Xinfa Group was said by sources to have started up 1 million-1.2 million mt/year new capacity in Shanxi recently. The company declined to comment Wednesday.
Henan East Hope was said to be planning to start up 1 million-1.2 million mt/year new capacity next month, also in Shanxi, while State Power Investment's 1 million mt/year project in Guizhou and Tianshan's 1 million mt/year plant in Guangxi were expected to start by the end of the year.
"The plan is to start up the new Guizhou capacity in November, but it is not certain that will happen yet," a source close to SPI said. East Hope and Tianshan were not available for comment.
Shandong Weiqiao has completed 1-2 million mt/year expansion, but not decided on a start date, a company source said.
"Talk is that Weiqiao has not received proper approval so cannot start yet. We heard the Guizhou and Guangxi projects will only start in the second quarter of 2019," a Shanghai trader said.
"We heard Xinfa is expected to see first output from its new operation this month," a Beijing trader said.
Regardless of start dates, market talk of the new capacity available in the near term has pressured domestic alumina prices, sources said.
"Pressure is coming from all the anticipated new capacities. The government has eased policies on new capacities. As long as its approved by the environmental department, there is no limit. Winter cuts are also likely less than expected overall this year," a Shanxi refiner said.
The Platts China Shanxi daily spot alumina assessment fell further on Wednesday, down another Yuan 50/mt ($7.24) to Yuan 3,040/mt full cash terms, after dropping Yuan 90/mt Tuesday.
The price was down Yuan 140/mt from September 28 and down Yuan 260/mt month on month. China was closed October 1-7 for National Day celebrations. Bauxite supply, meanwhile, remained a concern.
"We heard East Hope has yet to start up mainly due to a lack of bauxite," the Shanxi refiner said.
A South China smelter, however, said bauxite supply was only tight in parts of the north, and not in Guangxi, Guizhou and Shandong.
"Bauxite is tight, but not unavailable," he said.
In 2018, China's total alumina production capacity was expected to reach 86 million mt/year, up from 81 million mt/year in 2017, state-run metals information division Beijing Antaike has said previously.
Actual alumina output was expected to total 74 million mt in 2018, up from around 70 million mt in 2017, Antaike said.