China Plans to Boost Aluminum Use by Almost 20% in Three Years

(Bloomberg) -- China, the top consumer of base metals, aims to expand aluminum demand by 18 percent in the next three years by boosting use of high-end products in transportation and construction, an industry group said.

The nation is seeking to raise consumption by 6 million metric tons, the China Nonferrous Industry Association said in a plan posted on its WeChat platform Tuesday. The country used 32.5 million tons last year, according to Beijing Antaike Information Development Co., a researcher affiliated with the CNIA.

China’s State Council in June issued guidelines for a revamp of the base-metals industry, such as limiting new capacity, encouraging mergers and acquisitions, offering tax breaks and building stockpiles. The policy is designed to help the industry cope with a slowdown in demand growth as the country shifts toward a consumption-led economy from one driven by investment.

The association reiterated plans to curb the building of new plants, especially in aluminum and copper, and to start accumulating commercial reserves in addition to existing company inventories. The stockpiling will start with aluminum and expand to other major base metals, it said, without giving more details. The State Reserve Bureau also stores metals to manage supply.

China will develop consumption of aluminum products in vehicles, construction, commercial aircraft and ships, according to the association’s plan. More copper will be used in infrastructure and new-energy vehicles, it said. The country will focus on technological innovation to boost the supply of high-end products and cut reliance on imports, it said.