Japan’s primary aluminium imports fell 16% from a year ago to 95,630 metric tons in August, bringing the drop so far this year to 30%, trade data released by the Ministry of Finance showed on Thursday.
The sharp reduction by Asia’s biggest importer of the light metal used in transport, construction and packaging reflects sluggish demand in construction sector at home, along with weak exports, traders and aluminium manufactures said.
Imports of primary aluminium ingots from January to August came in at 711,627 tons, down 30% from last year.
“Demand from automakers is recovering thanks to improvement in chip and parts supply, but demand from other sectors, including construction and semiconductor equipment, remains weak,” an official at a Japanese aluminium rolling mill said.
Japan’s shipment of aluminium sheets and extrusions fell 5.1% in July from a year earlier, marking the 17th consecutive month of decline, data of the Japan Aluminium Association showed.
“Construction demand remains weak due to falling housing starts and the amount of aluminium used per unit,” an official at the association said.
Despite declining imports, aluminium stocks at three major Japanese ports AL-STK-JPPRTrose 2.9% to 360,700 tons as of end-August from end-July, according to Marubeni. It was above 250,000-300,000 tons that are considered appropriate.
“Import of primary aluminium may continue to fall until stockpiles are adjusted to healthy levels,” an aluminium trader said.
Source : Nasdaq