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China's nonferrous metals sector hurt by excess smelting capacity: NDRC


China's nonferrous metals sector struggled from excess intermediate smelting capacity in the first half of 2013, compared with smaller upstream and downstream operations, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a report Tuesday.

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"There's a surplus in smelting capacities, with a lack of resources protection and shortage of high value-added processed products, relying on imports," NDRC said.

"In Western [China], there were still new electrolytic aluminum projects that did not comply with state rules. The excess aluminum smelting capacity problem is still acute," the report said, without giving further details.

NDRC said rising power costs and falling aluminum prices resulted in heavy losses in the aluminum sector.

"The reliance on bauxite imports intensified, causing considerable impact on the aluminum sector," it said.

China imported 32.705 million mt of bauxite in H1, up 30% year on year, according to customs data.

NDRC called for further efforts to ease excess capacity and control national output in the second half of the year in order to promote the sector's development.

In June market data, NDRC said China's refined copper prices fell 6% year on year to Yuan 51,600/mt ($8425/mt) for the month, and aluminum prices fell 9% year on year to 14,700/mt ($2400/mt).

Refined lead prices averaged Yuan 13,900/mt ($2270/mt) in June, down 10% year on year, and zinc prices averaged 14,800/mt ($2417/mt), down 3%, NDRC data figures.

NDRC said China's nonferrous metal imports were worth $48.9 billion in the first half of the year, down 9% from H1 2012. H1 nonferrous metals export values were $13.9 billion, down 4% year on year.

--Joshua Leung,

--Edited by Meghan Gordon,