Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

Column: Mind the alumina gap as Western and Chinese prices diverge – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 10, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The alumina market is currently seeing a widening gap in pricing between China and the rest of the world. Outside of China the price of the aluminium input has fallen below $300 per tonne for the first time since the second quarter of 2017.

Last year’s explosive rallies above $600 per tonne are a distant memory as the full return of the giant Alunorte refinery in Brazil stabilises supply. In China, by contrast, local prices have rallied by 10% over the last two months to a current 2,650 yuan ($365) per tonne, according to Shanghai Metal Market.

The Chinese supply chain is proving more unpredictable this year with domestic production hit by unforeseen outages, environmental curtailments and declining raw material availability. Divergence between Chinese and Western alumina prices is not new but they tend to move broadly in tandem not in completely different directions. Continue Reading →

Column: Falling output and stocks fail to halt aluminium price slide – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 1, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Global aluminium production is contracting this year. Cumulative output in the first eight months of 2019 slid by 0.6% to 42.5 million tonnes with production down in both China, the world’s dominant producer, and the rest of the world, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI).

If the trend continues, this will be the first year since 2009 to see a simultaneous production decline in both halves of the aluminium universe.

Visible inventory, meanwhile, has fallen to multi-year lows. Total stocks registered with the London Metal Exchange (LME) last week slipped below 900,000 tonnes for the first time since 2008, while Shanghai Futures Exchange stocks are at two-year lows. Continue Reading →

Aluminum Markets Flash a Warning for the Economy – by Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – September 30, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

(Bloomberg) — When aluminum demand last contracted during the financial crisis and unwanted metal started flooding into warehouses, it took more than a decade to work through the glut. Now, the market is bracing for another sharp increase in inventories as demand growth grinds to a halt.

Aluminum has tumbled to a two-and-a-half-year low as slowing global growth and the U.S.-China trade war hurt demand for the metal used in airplanes, automobiles and beer cans.

While stockpiles tracked by the London Metal Exchange fell to their lowest since 2007 last week, traders say inventories are building in the physical market as weaker order books leave consumers with more metal than they need. Continue Reading →

Column: Sliding Japan premium confirms aluminium’s demand problem – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – September 13, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – A sharp fall in Japanese physical premiums for fourth quarter shipments is the latest sign that aluminium is not immune from the demand weakness that is sapping the industrial metals complex.

The timing, however, is ironic. Years of chronic overproduction appeared to be coming to an end with global output actually falling so far this year and large off-market stocks finally starting to diminish.

Demand hasn’t been a problem for aluminium in the past, thanks to its growing usage in an automotive sector focused on light-weighting vehicles. That has changed over the course of this year. Continue Reading →

Profit slumps at Australia’s South32 as trade war hits aluminum prices – by Aditya Soni (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Australian miner South32 Ltd reported a bigger-than-expected 25% drop in annual profit as the trade war between China and the United States hurt aluminum prices, sending its shares lower by as much as 5.8% on Thursday.

South32 also said it was in talks to sell its South Africa thermal coal business to Johannesburg-based Seriti Resources, the latest company to get out of energy coal at a time when investor pressure and climate change concerns are prompting businesses to limit their exposure to fossil fuels.

The miner’s fortunes have soured in tandem with a decline in aluminum prices, which have come under pressure this year due to a slowdown in China – the world’s biggest consumer of the metal – as the Sino-U.S. trade war has escalated. Continue Reading →

Is Endlessly Recyclable Aluminum The Answer To The Global Recycling Crisis? – by Ariel Knoebel (Forbes Magazine – August 13, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

As of August 20, San Francisco International Airport will no longer allow plastic water bottles in airport terminals of foodservice and retail locations. According to the airport’s website, this is “part of an effort to address plastic pollution and the recent collapse of the plastic recycling market.”

China banned imports of foreign plastic for recycling in January 2018. Too much contaminated waste was coming into the country, creating environmental hazards.

Before the ban, 95% of recycled plastics from the EU and 70% from the US were sent to China for processing. In the past six months, Americans have been struggling to continue recycling programs across the country, as processing prices have jumped, and many facilities have stopped accepting many types of plastics. Continue Reading →

Aluminum producers in Canada cash in on U.S. tariff exemption – by Pratima Desai and Nichola Saminather (Reuters Canada – July 23, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

LONDON/TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s exemption from U.S. tariffs on imports of aluminum metal has boosted earnings at the Canadian operations of companies such as Rio Tinto and Alcoa, but has not cut costs for U.S. consumers.

In May, the United States lifted the Section 232 tariff of 10% imposed on Canadian imports of aluminum, a vital ingredient for auto makers, drinks firms and military equipment companies.

Aluminum costs for U.S. consumers are the benchmark price on the London Metal Exchange at around $1,810 a tonne plus the physical market premium, around $400 a tonne. Analysts say $192 of the premium is the tariff non-exempt producers pay. Continue Reading →

Mining Giant to Spend Billions to Halt Indonesian Metal Imports – by Eko Listiyorini and Tassia Sipahutar (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – July 18, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Indonesia plans to spend billions of dollars in building aluminum and nickel smelters as it seeks to cut reliance on imports of finished metal and stem exports of raw minerals.

State-owned PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium will earmark as much as $10 billion over the next five years to develop refineries and smelters, according to President Director Budi Gunadi Sadikin. The investment will be made by the company and its units including nickel and bauxite miner PT Aneka Tambang, he said.

Indonesia is seeking to reshape its mining industry by making it mandatory for miners to build smelters after decades of free exports of raw materials left it reliant on costly imports to meet demand. Continue Reading →

Alcoa-Rio Plant Workers Give in, ‘Exhausted’ From Lock-Out – by Sandrine Rastello and Matthew Townsend(Bloomberg News – July 3, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

An 18-month labor dispute at an aluminum smelter in Quebec controlled by Alcoa Corp. ended after workers accepted a deal, defying the recommendation of their union’s leadership.

On Tuesday, about 80% of workers at the Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. voted to ratify the offer after a meeting of the United Steelworkers in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, the union said. Alcoa said in a statement that the restart will begin on July 26, and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2020.

The deal, which covers everything from pension financing to the use of subcontractors, follows months of failed attempts to revive negotiations after more than 1,000 union workers were locked out in January 2018. Last week, Alcoa threatened to idle the entire facility if workers don’t sign what it called a “final offer.” Continue Reading →

Alcoa Gets Tough With Union by Threatening to Idle Quebec Plant – by Matt Townsend (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finannce – June 27, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — After 18 months of often contentious labor talks with the United Steelworkers union at an aluminum smelter in Quebec, Alcoa Corp. has threatened to idle the entire facility if workers don’t sign what it’s calling a “final offer.”

Aluminerie de Bécancour, a joint venture in which Alcoa controls a 75% stake and Rio Tinto Group owns the rest, made a proposal that expires on July 5. If it’s not signed, the already-curtailed production will be totally suspended, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said Wednesday in a statement.

Union workers were locked out of the facility in January 2018, and some operations continued to be run by managers. At full capacity, the plant known as ABI could produce 413,000 metric tons of aluminum a year, but that had been cut back to about a sixth of that, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Continue Reading →

Analysis:Steel and aluminum tariffs are gone, so now what? – by Elise von Scheel (CBC News Politics – May 20, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/

Deal includes provision to watch for foreign dumping, allows U.S. to impose tariffs again in rare cases

A deal was reached on Friday to end the metal tariff battle between Canada and the U.S. Steel and aluminum imports from Canada will no longer be taxed, but that doesn’t mean all the problems are over.

The new NAFTA still has to be ratified and the protectionist administration in the U.S. is still causing anxiety in Canada. Here’s what you need to know about the tariffs deal and what happens next.

The American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum — 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively — disappeared as of today. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on Monday that Canada lifted its retaliatory countermeasures against the U.S., according to a news release from the Department of Finance Canada. Continue Reading →

Canada, U.S. and Mexico reach deal to lift Trump administration’s steel and aluminium tariffs – by Adrian Morrow and Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail – May 17, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland have scheduled an announcement in Hamilton Friday, where they are expected to announce a deal to lift the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

Mr. Trudeau spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump Friday on tariffs and other trade matters, the Prime Minister’s office said. A Canadian official said Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Freeland will announce the deal today.

The agreement will end the continental trade war that has raged for most of the last year. But sources in industry and government on both sides of the border cautioned that Canada is not out of the woods yet: Canada will likely have to agree to tough new export rules on its metals industry that will benefit the U.S. in exchange for the end of tariffs. Continue Reading →

‘Farmers are hurting’: Rising pressure on U.S. agriculture key to removal of steel tariffs from Canada, Mexico – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – May 16, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Faltering U.S.-China trade talks, rising tariff pressure on American farmers and a rapidly disappearing opportunity to ratify the new North American Free Trade Agreement are fuelling Washington’s renewed push to negotiate the removal of steel and aluminum levies from Canada and Mexico, analysts say.

“I think we are close to an understanding with Mexico and Canada,” on resolving the tariffs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday. He not provide any details about the potential agreement.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Washington Wednesday to push for the removal of the tariffs during meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Continue Reading →

Column: Chinese outages a reminder of aluminium’s dirty secret – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 16, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Chinese alumina prices have jumped to a five-month high on news that at least two refineries in the province of Shanxi are being shut down pending environmental inspections.

So far the market impact seems localised. Shanghai aluminium prices have risen on concerns about the potential knock-on effect on metal production in China. Alumina is the intermediate product derived from bauxite used to smelt aluminium.

But the price of alumina traded on the CME is unmoved, reflecting expectations that the giant Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil is poised to receive official sign-off to return to full production after more than a year of operating at half capacity. Continue Reading →

Freeland renews push to remove steel, aluminum tariffs during Washington trip – by Mike Blanchfield (Canadian Press/Global News – May 14, 2019)

https://globalnews.ca/

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is bound for Washington to meet with Trump trade czar Robert Lighthizer in a renewed push to get punitive steel and aluminum tariffs lifted.

The meeting at the United States trade representative’s Washington office is to take place on Wednesday but Freeland will also venture to Capitol Hill for a meeting with the influential Republican chair of the Senate finance committee, Chuck Grassley.

“We continue to lobby very assertively for the lifting of the tariffs. We’re at a point where we need to do everything we can and talk to everyone we can about why we see these as unjust,” a senior government source said Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing dispute. Continue Reading →