In the first half of 2022, it became a net exporter with primary metal shipments to Europe and the United States to take advantage of very high physical premiums.
Premiums are very low now. The price for EPDc1 unpaid in Europe, which was over $600 per tonne in May, has dropped to $250 on the London Metal Exchange (LME) cash price.
As European smelter production declines under the weight of higher energy prices, the region is also poised for a recessionary blow in demand.
China seems to be taking up some of the gap, just as its own production momentum stalls as the country tries to recover from quarantine and isolation.