China Records Record High in Aluminium Production in June

Aluminium Insider - July 18th, 2017

Aluminium output from producers in the People’s Republic of China hit record highs last month, according to numbers released by the government. Experts believe the jump in production is the result of producers chasing rising prices resulting in the government’s reigning in of illicit smelting capacity.

Numbers released by the National Statistics Bureau yesterday showed a 7.4 percent increase year-on-year to a output of 2.93 million metric tons in June. Last month’s total bested December’s then-record output of 2.89 million metric tons.

Although the United States, and especially the Trump administration, has continuously advanced the notion that official measures must be taken to stem the tide of cheap aluminium from China rolling over the U.S.’s own smelting industry, experts caution that an increase in production alone should not be viewed as provocative.

“It’s wrong to think that this is some sort of unified, homogenous voice that is deliberately making some provocative statement to the U.S,” said AZ China’s Paul Adkins in an interview with Reuters.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth. What we’re really seeing, if anything, is … a lack of a coordinated response (from Chinese producers).”

According to analysts, the jump in production is simply a reaction to cuts in capacity implemented by Beijing previously this year.

“The reason that prices were higher in the first place was the expectation of Chinese cutting back supply of aluminum and steel, yet that is what is inducing its high utilization rates,” said AME Group’s chief economist Mark Pervan.

In the meantime, producers in both countries await the results of talks between representatives of both governments, which are being carried out in the shadow of the United States Commerce Department’s ongoing investigation into Chinese dumping and its possible ramifications upon national security.

Rio Tinto etches record Qtr bauxite production

Finance News Network - July 18th, 2017

Rio Tinto has reported record quarterly output for its bauxite operations of 12.9 million tonnes, which is 7 per cent higher than the prior corresponding quarter of 2016.

The metals and mining giant recorded quarterly bauxite production thanks to stronger production at Weipa and Gove.

Rusal resumes Taishet aluminium project, sees deeper global deficit

Nasdaq - July 12th, 2017

Russia's Rusal has resumed construction of its long-stalled Taishet aluminium smelter project in Siberia in expectation of a widening global aluminium deficit, the company said on Wednesday.

The world's second-largest aluminium producer behind China's Hongqiao needs a further $700 million to complete the project, having invested about $800 million in Taishet before it was halted because of falling aluminium prices.

Aluminium prices have jumped by 12 percent to $1,887 a tonne since the start of January and Rusal expects them to climb above $1,900 by the end of the year, said Deputy Chief Executive Oleg Mukhamedshin, citing the company's belief that the global deficit will reach 1.8 million tonnes in 2018, up 500,000 tonnes this year.

The deficit expectations are largely down to top producer China's decision to order steel and aluminium producers in 28 cities to make heavy output cuts during the winter as Beijing intensifies its war on smog.

"In this respect, we have a large competitive advantage related, above all, to the fact that we have resumed the Taishet aluminium smelter construction," Mukhamedshin told reporters in Moscow.

The first line of the smelter, with annual capacity of 430,000 tonnes, will be built by 2020 and Rusal is on track to agree financing with banks including state-run Vnesheconombank by the end of the year, he said.

Mukhamedshin added that Rusal, controlled by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska, is also in talks to create a 50-50 joint venture for the project with state-controlled power company Rushydro.

Rusal has said previously that it plans to expand annual capacity at its Boguchansk smelter in Siberia to 298,000 tonnes by 2018, up from 149,000 tonnes.

Mukhamedshin said that this plan was unchanged but further expansion of Boguchansk will depend on progress at Taishet and whether Rusal decides to proceed with an upgrade of its Khakas smelter in Siberia.

Alcoa to Restart Smelting Operations in Newburgh

Inside Indiana Business - July 12th, 2017

NEWBURGH - Pennsylvania-based Alcoa Corp. (NYSE: AA) has announced plans to restart three idled lines at its aluminum smelting facility in Newburgh. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the company will invest up to $35 million to restart the lines, which were closed last year, by the second quarter of 2018. The company plans to add 275 employees to its work force, some of which will be hired or recalled from layoff status.

The restarted lines will support Alcoa's existing rolling mill at the Warrick County plant. The facility produces flat-rolled aluminum for the food and beverage industry in North America. Work to restart the lines has already begun and the company says, once operational, the lines will have an annual smelting capacity of 161,400 metric tons.

"By restarting a portion of the Warrick smelter, we will provide an efficient source of metal for the co-located rolling mill and help it meet an anticipated increase in production volumes," Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa’s aluminum business unit, said in a news release. "The action will enable us to more fully utilize the assets at this integrated site for the benefit of our investors, customers, employees and the community."

When the closure of the smelting operations were announced in January 2016, the company said about 600 workers would be affected by the move. Most of the jobs were cut indefinitely as of April 2016. The company attributed the decision to falling aluminum prices on the global market.

Alba reports sales, production volumes for H1 2017

Bahrain News Agency - July 11th, 2017

With the recovery process of reduction Line 5 underway, Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) managed to close the first half of 2017 with its Sales volume at 453,089 metric tonnes, down by 3.9% Year-on-Year (YoY) while Production volume reached 453,395 metric tonnes, down by 4.5% YoY.

Sales and Production volumes for the second quarter of 2017 topped 210,157 metric tonnes and 204,617 metric tonnes respectively.

Russia to set up aluminium controlling entity with Gulf States, India, China

Russian Construction - July 11th, 2017

Russia took an initiative to establish an organization with the countries of Persian Gulf, China and India, which will be engaged in cooperation in the field of global aluminium industry, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Sergey Tsyb, said at Innoprom exhibition.

“We are now studying the prospect for developing a consolidated position in the format of Russia – the Gulf States, China and India, in order to present it within the framework of G20 in 2018, scheduled for the third quarter of 2018 in Argentina, with an initiative of the creation of an aluminum multilateral dialogue within the framework of the global initiative for the sustainable industrial development,” he said.

Iran Smelts 82 Thousand Tons of Aluminium in Q1

Aluminium Insider - July 10th, 2017

According to numbers just released by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization, Iran’s mining sector churned out 84.89 million tons of minerals from mid-March to mid-June, which is a 9.49-percent increase year on year.

The period of March 21 through June 21, which corresponds with Iran’s first quarter of the fiscal year, saw Iran’s three main aluminium-producing firms collectively registered a 5.51 percent drop year-on-year, combining to produce 82,605 tons of aluminium.

The publicly-traded Iran Aluminum Company (IRALCO), which was the first firm in the country to produce aluminium, produced 41,720 tons in the quarter. Iralco also produced 61,166 tons of alumina, a 3.97 percent increase year-on-year.

Hormozal Aluminum Company, which jointly operates a 147-thousand-metric-tons-per-year smelter in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas with a firm from Italy, produced 26,064 tons.

Almahdi Aluminum Company smelted a total of 14,821 tons.

Rusal Announces Partnership with Chinese Firm to Produce Aluminium-Alloy Cable

Aluminium Insider - July 6th, 2017

Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal announced yesterday that it has entered into an agreement with Chinese aluminium alloy cable firm Hebei Joy Sense Cable Co. (HJSC) to form a joint venture to produce aluminium cable for electrical applications.

According to Rusal, the joint venture will be named JSC RUSAL-HEBEI JOY SENSE CABLE Special Aluminium Products Co. Ltd. Investments. Ownership is to be split fifty-fifty between Rusal and HJSC, with sales and production to occur at HSJC’s facilities in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, 190 miles from Beijing. HSJC’s facilities will be modernized to handle the requirements of the new joint venture.

Products intended for production by the joint venture include high-temperature cables for overhead transmission lines made of aluminium-zirconium alloy (made under license from Rusal), and cabling and wiring products for solar and wind energy. The joint venture will also conduct research and development, technical services, and client support. Planned output of the joint venture is 72,000 metric tons of aluminium wire rod per annum, and Rusal anticipates the joint venture’s clients will include firms in China, India, Southeast Asia, and other countries China defines as “Silk Road Countries.”

Rusal indicates that it will be responsible for technology, equipment, technical support, and expertise, while HJSC will focus upon organizational settlements, licensing, and administrative arrangements.

Alba Lays Foundation for Sixth Potline

Aluminium Insider - July 3rd, 2017

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) announced over the weekend that the concrete foundation of the firm’s new Potline 6 facility has been laid.

A portion of the Line 6 project, Potline 6 consists of two pot rooms, each of which is just under a mile long. As such, these buildings are the longest in the Line 6 project.

“We are very pleased with the fast-track approach adopted by our team towards our landmark project,” opined Alba’s Chairman of Board of Directors Shaikh Daij Bin Salman Bin Daij Al Khalifa. “We also remain optimistic that by reducing the lead time activities, we will be able to get Line 6 Expansion Project off to a successful start as per schedule and have the First Hot Metal by January 2019.”

Alba says that the concrete foundations will total 1 million square feet upon completion in December 2018.

Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C., or simply Alba, is one of the largest industrial companies in the Middle East and is one of the top 10 largest aluminium producers in the world. Originally incorporated in 1968, the company is based in Bahrain and 87% of its total workforce are Bahraini nationals. It began operations in 1971 with a 120,000 metric ton annual capacity. Modernization bumped the output up to 450,000 metric tons in 1992. In the spring of 2005, Alba opened Line 5, raising output by 860,000 metric tons per year. Maximum output for the smelter is in the neighborhood of 1.2 million metric tons per year.

Aluminium Demand in United States and Canada Rose by 1.4% in April

Aluminium Insider - July 2nd, 2017

Estimates just released by the Aluminum Association show an increase in demand for the metal increased year-on-year by 1.4% in April in the United States and Canada.

According to the numbers, shipments by domestic producers plus imports of aluminium totaled 2.257 billion pounds in the fourth month of the year. Demand for semi-fabricated aluminium increased by 1.9% year-on-year, totaling 1.618 billion pounds. Apparent consumption, which is demand minus exports, also rose year-on-year, totaling 2.002 billion pounds, a 1.6% increase over April 2016. Apparent consumption is on a steady upward clip through April, up by 4.1% year-on-year and totaling 8.142 billion pounds.

Production numbers show that the rising demand is being met increasingly by overseas smelters, while domestic smelters are finding it more and more difficult to find buyers overseas. Excluding cross-border trade, ingot and mill product exports were down year-on-year in April by 0.5% to 255 million pounds. Exports over the first four months of 2017 totaled 956 million pounds, a drop of 6.1% from the first four months of 2016. In addition, imports rose in April by 11% year-on-year, totaling 727 million pounds. Shipments of extrusions dropped off by 2.3% year-on-year in April, totaling 467.5 million pounds as well.

A bright spot for producers in the month of April was the over-3% rise in shipments of aluminium sheet and plate, tipping the scales at 893.4 million pounds. Also in the black were shipments of aluminium ingots for casting, exports and other uses, which was up almost 1% year-on-year in April, totaling 639 million pounds.

Inventories held on hand by producers again dropped below three billion pounds in the month of April, coming to 2.916 billion pounds, a 1.1% increase over March. However, this total is a 2.1% drop over the total inventory recorded in April 2016.

Traffic in ingots, scrap aluminium, and mill products was up in both directions during April, with imports of the same up by 12.5% year-on-year, totaling 785 million pounds. Exports were up 8.8% year-on-year in April to 522 million pounds, of which scrap aluminium made up just slightly over half of the total. When scrap aluminium is removed from the numbers, exports totaled 255 million pounds, a year-on-year drop of under one percent.