China ramps up aluminum output in Dec amid new capacity launches – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – January 18, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aluminum production rebounded in December to its highest since June, reversing five months of declines, as state-owned Chinalco launched new capacity even as Beijing curbed its private rivals, lifting 2017 output to a record.

The world’s top aluminum producer churned out 2.71 million tonnes of the metal last month, up 15.3 percent from 2.35 million tonnes in November, although it was down 1.8 percent from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported on Thursday.

For the full year, China produced 32.27 million tonnes of aluminum, a rise of 1.6 percent from 2016, the data showed.

November output fell 7.8 percent from October as production cuts of as much as 30 percent at some Chinese aluminum smelters began kicking in fully by the middle of the month as part of a government crackdown on air pollution.

December’s monthly jump reflects the start up late last year of new smelting capacity in Inner Mongolia by Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) and in the southern province of Guangxi, regions that were not required to cut capacity under the pollution crackdown, analysts said.

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