Beginning January, China will impose an export tax on aluminium, copper and nickel, according to Xinhua, which did not specify amounts. The policy, it appeared, is aimed at closing small smelters and forcing consolidation. Exporters now have to prepare for a double hit: smelters have been enjoying an 8% tax rebate set to be abolished in January. In the first 10 months of 2004, primary aluminium exports increased 41%, to 1m tonnes. Refined copper exports went up 123% to 118,925 tonnes, and refined nickel jumped by 63%, to 13,615 tonnes. Aluminum Corp of China, a minor player in exports, said the change would increase domestic supplies.