Operational Situation of Nonferrous Metals Industry in 2018 and Prospects for 2019

I. Basic Situation of Industry Operation

(1) Production has increased steadily and investment has recovered. In 2018, the output of ten kinds of non-ferrous metals was 56.88 million tons, an increase of 6% year on year. Among them, the output of copper, aluminium, lead and zinc was 9.03 million tons, 35.8 million tons, 5.11 million tons and 5.68 million tons, respectively, which increased by 8.0%, 7.4%, 9.8% and -3.2% year on year, while the output of copper and aluminium was 17.16 million tons and 45.55 million tons, respectively, which increased by 14.5% and 2.6% year on year. In 2018, the investment in fixed assets in non-ferrous industry increased by 1.2% year on year. Among them, the investment in mining and mineral processing decreased by 8% year on year, while the investment in smelting and processing increased by 3.2% year on year. The scale expansion has shifted to increasing technological innovation such as environmental protection and safety, as well as research and development of high-end materials and new technologies.


(2) Price volatility has fallen, and the benefits of the industry have declined substantially. In 2018, the average spot prices of copper and lead were 50689 yuan/ton and 19126 yuan/ton, respectively, rising by 2.9% and 4.1% year-on-year respectively, with an increase of 26 and 22 percentage points. The average spot prices of aluminium and zinc were 14262 yuan/ton and 23674 yuan/ton respectively, down by 1.8% and 1.7% year-on-year. The main business income of non-ferrous Enterprises above the scale is 5428.9 billion yuan, an increase of 8.8% over the same period of last year; the profit of 185.5 billion yuan, a decrease of 6.1% over the same period of last year; the profit of mining and processing is 41.6 billion yuan, which is the same as that of last year; the profit of smelting and processing is 67.9 billion yuan and 75.6 billion yuan, respectively, a decrease of 10.2% and 5.6% over the same period of last year, especially that of aluminium industry, whose profit declines by

(3) The situation of import and export has changed and positive progress has been made in overseas investment. The annual export of unwrought rolled aluminium and aluminium products was 5.8 million tons, an increase of 20.9% over the same period of last year. With the implementation of the policy of prohibiting foreign garbage entry, the import of copper scrap dropped 32.2% and the import of refined copper increased 15.5% year on year. Overseas resources development has been vigorously promoted, and overseas projects such as China Aluminum Group, Minmetals Group, Zhongjin Lingnan and Weiqiao have made new progress.

(4) Structural reform on the supply side has been deepened and the transformation and upgrading of the industry has been accelerated. Production capacity control and restructuring achieved results. More than 3.3 million tons of electrolytic aluminium production capacity was transferred to energy-rich areas such as Inner Mongolia and Yunnan through capacity replacement. China Aluminum integrated Yunnan metallurgy, Shandong Weiqiao Holdings Co., Ltd. and other joint restructuring continued to advance. De-leveraging has made progress, with the industry’s asset-liability ratio of 62.2%, down 0.6 percentage points from a year earlier. With the acceleration of filling plate, 7050 full-size aluminum alloy thick plate has been licensed to install, aluminum air battery and nano-ceramic aluminum alloy have been industrialized, energy consumption of copper and aluminium smelting has been declining, and the level of green development has been continuously improved.

II. Problems Faced

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(1) Costs are rising and consumption is sluggish, and the pressure on the operation of the industry is increasing. From the production side, affected by the rising cost of raw and auxiliary materials such as minerals, raw materials, coal, electricity and the increasing investment in environmental protection, the main business income cost per 100 yuan in the industry in 2018 is higher than the average industrial level of 3.97 yuan, an increase of 0.58 yuan over the same period of last year, especially the average comprehensive cost of electrolytic aluminium. From the consumer side, the traditional consumption fields such as real estate, electricity, automobile and household appliances continue to weaken, and the new application fields with large quantity, wide range and strong driving force need to be expanded. In addition, private enterprises are an important part of the non-ferrous industry, but because of the high cost of financing and heavy non-operational burden, there are still barriers in undertaking major projects and other aspects, and the development pressure is greater.

(2) The low-end surplus and shortcomings are prominent, and the deep-seated problems of industrial structure are prominent. Strictly controlling the new capacity of electrolytic aluminium is still arduous. There is a risk of overcapacity in some low and middle-end processing areas. There is also a rapid expansion of stage capacity in some emerging areas such as lithium salts and precursors of ternary materials. There are shortcomings in high-end materials and green smelting. The key non-ferrous materials for aerospace and integrated circuits are still dependent on imports. In 2018, the unit price of aluminium imports is 1.9 times that of exports. Some smelting industries still lack industrialized technical support to achieve special emission limits. Pollution prevention and control is still an important bottleneck restricting the green development of the industry.

(3) The international trade situation is complex and the development environment is becoming increasingly severe. With the increase of uncertainties in the global economic trend and the substantial impact of trade friction, it is difficult to sustain the sustained growth of aluminium exports. The blockage of exports of non-ferrous terminal consumer goods such as electromechanical, automotive and other non-ferrous consumer goods will also increase the pressure of industry operation. Because of the strong financial attribute of non-ferrous metals, the indirect impact of trade frictions on the industry is even greater than the direct impact, impacting market confidence, prices and investment, affecting the development of the industry.

Key Work in 2019

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(1) Make excellent increments and accelerate the innovative development of new non-ferrous materials and new formats. We will expand the upstream and downstream cooperation mechanism of civil aircraft aluminium materials into the cooperation mechanism of civil aircraft materials, promote the implementation of key annual tasks, track the progress of new energy vehicle platform construction, strengthen supervision and coordination, and form annual symbolic work results. Implementing the new material “filling board”, establishing the database of non-ferrous new materials and the industry testing and evaluation center, and improving the basic system of non-ferrous new materials. At the same time, we should promote the deep integration of non-ferrous industry and the Internet, build advanced non-ferrous metal industry clusters, expand application areas, and explore new modes and new formats of industry development.

(2) Optimizing stock and improving the level of intelligent and green development of industrial chain. To formulate guidelines for the construction of intelligent mines and factories for non-ferrous metals and guide the construction of intelligent standardization in the industry. Focusing on the green manufacturing shortcomings of traditional industries such as copper, lead, zinc, tungsten and magnesium in green smelting, ultra-low emission, harmless disposal of waste residue and comprehensive utilization of resources, we should speed up the research and development and promotion of applicable technologies, guide some industrial agglomeration areas to carry out technology supply-demand docking, and guide enterprises to accelerate green development.

(3) Coordinating policies to promote the standardized development of the industry. Promote the structural reform of the supply side, continue to maintain the high-pressure situation of strictly controlling the new capacity of electrolytic aluminium, strictly implement capacity replacement, and guide the high-quality development of alumina and electrolytic aluminium industry through market-oriented and legalized ways. Strengthen policy coordination and service, coordinate and promote industry cost reduction, form a development pattern of mutual promotion between state-owned enterprises and private enterprises, consolidate Sino-Russian cooperation mechanism, improve foreign cooperation platform, guide industry to cope with trade frictions and deepen international cooperation. Revising and promulgating industry normative conditions, reforming management methods, and strengthening the guiding role of normative conditions in promoting industry technological progress and normative development. Strengthen the analysis of hot issues, stabilize market expectations, and promote the smooth operation of the industry.