But the production ramp-up has caused downward pressures on the market. Latest data from the CNIA shows that China’s primary production hit a record 1.22Mt in September, up 5.7% m-o-m and rising 5.5% y-o-y, the first y-o-y gain seen this year.

That equates to an annual rate of 14.83Mt, 575kt higher than the previous peak hit in June last year and 4.43Mt off the low hit in March this year. In the first nine months of the year, primary production was 9.07Mt, still down 10.59% y-o-y.

Even if September production rate stops growing m-o-m in the last quarter of the year, full-2009 primary production could still be 12.8Mt, or 2.8% lower than last year’s level.

Even though primary imports for the first nine months were still high, totalling 1.37Mt, up 1402% y-o-y, primary exports were fairly low at 11.9kt, down 79% y-o-y. Net primary imports therefore came to 1.35Mt, up by more than 38.7 times on a yearly basis. With domestic metal production gearing up, Chinese primary imports are expected to stay on the downside for the remainder of the year.

Source: China Metals e-mail infochn@public.bta.net.cn