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China Jan-Feb aluminium imports from Russia more than triple on-year

FILE PHOTO: Employees work at the production line of aluminium rolls at a factory in Zouping, Shandong province, China on November 23, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer   GLNCY +2.44% Add to/Remove from Watchlist Add to Watchlist Add Position

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aluminium imports from Russia more than tripled in the first two months this year with a 266.2% surge, customs data showed on Monday, as buyers eyed rising Chinese demand and after Western firms shied away from trading Russian metals.

Total imports from Russia into the world’s top aluminium consumer were 105,300 tonnes for January and February combined, up from 28,759 tonnes the same period a year ago.

The total value for January and February imports was $248.39 million, or an average price of $2,359 a tonne.

The benchmark aluminium contract on the London Metal Exchange registered an average price of $2,644 and $2,373 a tonne in January and February respectively.

Russia, one of the world’s top aluminium exporters, is a key supplier to China, accounting for 69% of China’s total primary aluminium imports last year, or 667,992 tonnes, according to customs data.

Russian aluminium giant Rusal has been looking to supply more low-carbon aluminium to China as demand for the metal rises from China’s electric vehicle firms, a company manager said last year.

Chinese demand for the metal, chiefly used in its construction and transport sectors, has risen since China abandoned its strict COVID-19 measures late last year.

China is also buying more after Western countries announced sweeping sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The United States has imposed a 200% tariff on aluminium and derivatives produced in Russia effective March 10. That followed Canada’s ban on the import of all Russian aluminium and steel products.

Meanwhile, Switzerland-based Glencore (OTC:GLNCY) said last week it will not renew a $16 billion deal to buy aluminium from Rusal when it expires next year.


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