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Chinese bauxite imports drop sharply in September

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Dry Bulk,

Chinese bauxite imports slipped 2.3 million t in September, according to independent shipbrokers, Simpson Spence Young. Imports totaled just 4.5 million t – a year-on-year fall of 34%.

Malaysian shipments were particularly hit, registering a year-on-year fall of 3 million t in September to total just 0.7 million t, Simpson Spence Young analysis showed. The country imposed a bauxite export ban in January of this year following public concern over the rapid expansion of bauxite mining.

In September, Malaysia extended the ban on bauxite exports to the end of the year with Reuters reporting the moratorium could be extended again if stockpiles had not cleared. In 2015, China imported nearly 24 million t of Malaysian bauxite.

Elsewhere, Australian bauxite shipments to China dropped 0.4 million t to 1.7 million t, said Simpson Spence Young, but shipments from the Atlantic were up 1.1 million t at 1.5 million t – most of which was sourced from Guinea.

Guinea has been the big winner in China’s bauxite import market this year with shipments from the African country totalling 7.4 million t between January and September of this year, compared with just 0.3 million t for the whole of 2015.

Guinea boasts the world’s largest bauxite reserves at 7.4 billion, according to the US Geological Survey, but is only the sixth largest producer with output in 2015 totalling 17.7 million t. That placed the country behind Australia – the world’s largest producer with the second-largest reserves – China, Brazil, Malaysia and India.

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