(Minews) - Japan’s aluminium output and demand saw moderate declines in 2013 amid high inventory levels.
Output of value-added aluminium products in 2013 dropped 1.3% year-on-year to 1.95 million tonnes.
Production of flats retreated 1.9% to a three-year low of 1.14 million tonnes, according to the Japan Aluminium Association (JAA).
Output of extrusions fared worse, dropping for a fourth straight year to 814,896 tonnes.
The spot main Japan port aluminium premiums – the amount over LME price that buyers in Japan are willing to pay for material – went over $300 tonne last week following a spike in Midwest premiums, with some traders also attributing the rise to physical factors.
For the month of December, output dropped to its lowest since September, despite posting a 7.1% gain compared with the corresponding period a year earlier.
Total December production came in at 165,469 tonnes. Flat products’ output rose 4.5% on the year, while production of extrusions rose 10.8% to 71,005 tonnes.
Japanese demand for aluminium products also witnessed a fall with shipments to domestic and overseas consumers falling for a third year to 1.95 million tonnes, a drop of 1.5% from 2012.
Shipments of flat products in 2013 fell by 1.9% year-on-year to 1.14 million tonnes; extrusions were down 0.4% to 814,896 tonnes.
Exports fell 8.2% year-on-year to 170,285 tonnes while shipments to the domestic automotive industry fell 3.3% to 138,139 tonnes, offsetting the 1% rise in shipments to the beverage industry to 414,382 tonnes.
For the month of December, flats shipments dropped to their lowest since August despite being up 3.3% year-on-year, to 91,560 tonnes.
Extrusion shipments in December were at their lowest since September but up 10.7% on the year, at 70,726 tonnes. Poor export demand saw overseas extrusions’ shipments dropping 15.6% year-on-year in December, which more than offset the 20% increase in demand from the automotive sector at home.
Inventories, meanwhile, climbed to their highest levels in at least two years to 59,286 tonnes.