China's aluminium imports reached a record annual high with a month to spare, after November inflows took this year's arbitrage fuelled shipments above the previous peak set in 2009. Imports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products into China, the world's biggest producer of the metal, came in at 188,973 tonnes last month, down 26.4 per cent from October but up 158.6 per cent year on year. It took imports for the January-November period to 2.44 million tonnes, a fourfold increase on the same period last year and eclipsing the 2.32 million tonnes imported in the whole of 2009.
The spread between Shanghai and London prices peaked in July, when China became a net importer for the first time in more than a decade. The arbitrage window has since closed but metal has continued to flow in.