Reuters reported that China’s aluminium exports fell in October as sliding domestic production meant less metal was available for overseas markets, while steel exports also dropped, hitting their weakest since February amid stiffer competition in key market Southeast Asia. China’s unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports came in at 482,000 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday, down 3.6 percent from a revised figure of 500,000 tonnes in September but still up 37.7 percent from October 2017.

The October aluminium export volume, in a month that included a week-long holiday around China’s National Day, is the lowest since May, with shipments having reached at least 500,000 tonnes in the four months from June to September.

The United States in March imposed import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, including from China, in one of the opening moves of an ongoing trade dispute between the world’s top two economies.

Several steel and aluminium products from China were hit with additional 25 percent tariffs by the United States in September.

Mr Paul Adkins, managing director of aluminium consultancy AZ China said that “October was one-week short, so it’s a pretty good number on a work day basis.We expect exports to start slipping a bit more” after the additional tariffs imposed in September, he added, noting that transshipments of Chinese metal to the United States via third countries should be watched.

Washington imposed final anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties of 96.3% to 176.2% on Chinese common alloy aluminium sheet products.

Exports from China, the world’s No.1 producer of steel and aluminium, have benefited recently from a weakening yuan, while shipments of semi-fabricated aluminium have just received an added incentive in the shape of a higher export tax rebate effective Nov. 1.