Global aluminum production is falling, but for how long – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – August 25, 2016)

LONDON – Global aluminum production fell by 1.2 percent to 33.12 million tonnes in the first seven months of this year, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI).

It doesn’t sound like much and in volume terms the decline amounts to just 390,000 tonnes, no more than a drop in the global aluminum ocean.

But this is the first year that output has consistently fallen since 2009, a year when financial crisis was rapidly morphing into manufacturing crisis with devastating consequences for aluminum producers.Equally noteworthy are the divergent trends between dominant producer China and the rest of the world.

Production in the latter contracted over the 2012-2014 period on a combination of closures and curtailments but it has been creeping higher since the start of last year and is up another 1.3 percent over the year to date.

China, meanwhile, has long been the driver of production growth to the point that it has lifted its share of global output from under 30 percent at the start of 2009 to around 54 percent.

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