|Last year, Korea’s export of the major six non-ferrous raw materials consisted of electrolytic copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel and tin increased, yet their import decreased on the balloon effect of the slowed consumption at the domestic market rather than efforts to dispose surplus. According to the Korea International Trade Association statistic, the export of non-ferrous metal raw materials increased 10.9 percent to 1,370,444 metric tons, while imports downed 14.6 percent to 1,845,330 metric tons respectively. The import of aluminum ore decreased to pull down the entire imports. With exports soared while import dipped the net import of non-ferrous metal raw materials neared to squeeze half from 925,887 metric tons to 474,886 metric tons last year.
The cash-cow products of zinc, lead and copper exports saw totally increased while alloy aluminum ore export climbed largely. Although the domestic auto and construction business confronted deeper slump last year, the non-ferrous metal exports improved dramatically toward Vietnam, Japan, US and Italy centering the auto materials, the statistics showed.
According to the supply and demand report filed by the Korea Non-ferrous Metal Industry, the domestic consumption for alloy aluminum ore continued to decrease over the latest four years by 45 percent versus the peak, but export growth could compensate for the retreat. In fact, alloy aluminum ore export soared 32.5 percent in 2016 and 42.9 percent in 2017 while registered a 46.6 percent gain last year.
On the other hand, aluminum pure ore imports depending upon imports for the entire consumption dropped 18.5 percent last year, lowering under 1.0 million tons first time since 2013. Besides, aluminum import in total including alloy ore showed a record low since 2011.
The largest export-driven product of zinc showed its production increased and export rose 10.4 percent last year on the base effect despite tighter supply conditions. Lead exports climbed 3.8 percent and import picked up 10.2 percent year on year. The import rise seems reflective of the increased needs due to the problems in import of waste batteries from Japan.
Domestic copper market conditions got affected by the sluggish needs at the domestic market. The slumped business in the automotive, electric & electronics and construction sectors led to the dampened production of refined copper products. The result was to decrease import by 15.0 percent but increased export by 2.5 percent respectively.
Exports of copper and aluminum scraps were prominent. Export shipped to China were impacted by 19.9 percent down due to the Chinese import restrictions. On the import front, aluminum scrap decreased but copper scrap import soared on the contrary.
Source: Steel&Metal News