Archive | Aluminium/Bauxite

Commentary: Sanctions stresses still bubbling in aluminium market – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 17, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – The initial sanctions shockwaves may have passed but the aluminium market is still structurally stressed by the U.S. Treasury’s action against Oleg Deripaska and his Rusal aluminium empire.

The price explosion after the original April 6 sanctions announcement went into reverse on April 23, when the U.S. Treasury extended the deadline until October and held out an olive branch to Rusal (but not Deripaska).

After hitting a seven-year high of $2,718 per tonne on April 19 the London Metal Exchange (LME) aluminium price has retreated to a current $2,268. The market seems to be betting that Deripaska’s offer to reduce his stake in and remove himself from Rusal will result in a swift lifting of the sanctions that have roiled the supply chain. Continue Reading →

Canada / U.S. big players announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum smelting process – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – May 10, 2018)

In an official event that included Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Québec’s Premier, Philippe Couillard, and Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) announced the launching of Elysis, a joint venture company whose goal is to push towards commercial production a newly discovered, carbon-free aluminum smelting process.

At the event, executives from the companies involved explained that the innovative aluminum-making method produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.

As an example, they said that, if fully implemented at existing aluminum smelters, the technology could eliminate the equivalent of 6.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. This represents an amount roughly equal to taking nearly 1.8 million light-duty vehicles off the road. Continue Reading →

Sanctions impact casts shadow over Rusal profit jump – by Melanie Burton and Katya Golubkova (Reuters U.S. – May 10, 2018)

MELBOURNE/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian aluminum giant Rusal on Friday warned of expected harm to its business from U.S. sanctions, sending its shares down more than 7 percent despite the company reporting a 20 percent jump in first-quarter core profit.

Washington last month announced sanctions on Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and several companies in which he is a large shareholder, including Rusal, En+ Group and GAZ Group, in response to what the United States said were Russia’s “malign activities”.

Though Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminum producer, said longer-term effects of the sanctions and the threat of additional future sanctions are difficult to determine, the company said it warned that the impact is highly likely to be “materially adverse”. Continue Reading →

U.S. delays steel, aluminum tariffs for second time; June 1 set as new deadline – by Alexander Panetta (Financial Post – May 1, 2018)

CANADIAN PRESS – WASHINGTON — The United States has delayed the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs for another month, with a late-evening announcement Monday that pushed the internationally contentious issue off to June 1.

The announcement came just before the deadline for the tariffs taking effect and marked the second such delay over an issue that has threatened to spark a global trade war.

The White House said it would pause tariffs for Canada, Mexico and the European Union; would soon announce steel and aluminum agreements with Argentina, Australia and Brazil; and had already reached a deal with South Korea. Continue Reading →

As steel tariffs squeeze U.S. businesses, uncertainty threatens economic growth – by Don Lee (Los Angeles Times – April 29, 2018)

“We’re in the dark, just like everybody else,” said an executive of a West Coast steel importer. “This administration has been supposedly pro-business, but business doesn’t like uncertainty,” groused a distributor of stainless steel, who, like others, requested anonymity to avoid antagonizing officials.

These should be good times for American manufacturers, construction firms, canners and others that use industrial metals for their business. The U.S. economy is perking along, and tax cuts and global growth are helping boost demand.

But since President Trump abruptly slapped hefty tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imported steel and aluminum on March 23, the outlook has turned hazy for many — downright bleak for some. Continue Reading →

Aluminum market to rebalance, prices to hold steady: Reuters poll – by Eric Onstad (Reuters U.S. – April 30, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – Aluminum market deficits are set to deepen, but the market is likely to rebalance once the dust settles after U.S. sanctions on Russian producer Rusal, leaving prices little changed, a Reuters poll showed.

Prices on the London Metal Exchange soared by a third, lifting the metal to its highest in nearly seven years, after the United States imposed sanctions this month against billionaire Oleg Deripaska and his company Rusal, the world’s No.2 aluminum producer.

However, much of those gains were lost after the deadline to comply with the sanctions was extended by several months. “Sanctions against Rusal are the main market theme. However, according to our estimates, restarts of U.S. capacity and excess capacity in China should easily compensate for lower Russian exports,” said Daniela Corsini, commodity market economist at Intesa Sanpaolo in Milan. Continue Reading →

U.S. aluminum producers urge permanent tariff exemptions for Canada – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – April 27, 2018)

American aluminum producers have issued a plea to U.S. President Donald Trump to grant permanent tariff exemptions to trading partners including Canada, arguing the levies would hurt downstream manufacturers who rely on the imported metal.

The appeal from the industry’s main trade association in the United States comes as Canada’s temporary reprieve from tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum and 25 per cent on steel is set to expire on May 1. The U.S. has said the exemptions are dependent on the successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which remains the subject of intense negotiations in Washington.

“I urge you to grant permanent exemptions — without quotas — for our aluminum trading partners that operate as market economies,” Heidi Brock, chief executive of the U.S. aluminum association said in a letter to Trump this week. “I also encourage you to engage China to address structural aluminum overcapacity.” Continue Reading →

Commentary: U.S. sanctions on Rusal shatter aluminium’s supply chain – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – April 26, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – “Our industry is going to suffer from disruption, distortion and damage. April 2018 has not been a good month for aluminium globally.”

That was the view of Ron Knapp, secretary-general of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), in his opening address to CRU’s World Aluminium Conference in London.

And none of analysts, traders, producers and consumers listening would disagree, given the carnage unleashed by the April 6 imposition of U.S. sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and his Rusal aluminium empire. Continue Reading →

After Weeks of Chaos, U.S. Throws Aluminum Industry Lifeline – by Jack Farchy and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – April 24, 2018)

After two weeks of convulsions caused by U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal, the metals market was braced for more mayhem: many traders were betting the Russian aluminum giant was just days away from having to shut plants from Sweden to Jamaica.

Then on Monday, the U.S. Treasury threw a potential lifeline by making clear it’s not pushing for the company’s collapse. “The U.S. government is not targeting the hardworking people who depend on Rusal and its subsidiaries,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

The Treasury softened its position in three ways. Mnuchin said it was considering a request to lift the sanctions against the company, it extended the period during which companies could keep trading with Rusal by almost five months, and it clarified exactly what dealings were permissible during that time. Continue Reading →

As Rusal Sanctions Ease, Traders Eye Other Metal Shock Threats – by Susanne Barton (Bloomberg News – April 23, 2018)

The turmoil in the metals market that sent aluminum to its worst slump in almost eight years isn’t over. Buckle up for a longer bumpy ride ahead.

Aluminum led losses among metals Monday after the U.S. Treasury Department opened the door to relief from sanctions to United Co. Rusal, the largest aluminum producer outside of China. That triggered a selloff in the lightweight metal less than a week after the Rusal curbs sent prices soaring to an almost seven-year high.

While the Treasury Department’s statement signal the refined metal produced by Rusal could soon be back in the market, other uncertainties persist. Among those is the question of the flow of alumina, the main raw material used to make the refined metal. Continue Reading →

‘People will revolt’: workers say Russia must save sanctions-hit Rusal – by Polina Ivanova (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

SAYANOGORSK, Russia (Reuters) – Workers at one of Russia’s biggest aluminum smelters say their Siberian town is doomed unless Moscow mitigates U.S. sanctions against aluminum giant Rusal, a predicament mirrored across the company’s sprawling operations.

Trapped by mortgages for apartments built on barren steppe under communism, residents of Sayanogorsk, one of a string of towns dominated by Rusal, have few options if a loss of customers for its aluminum leads the firm to cut jobs.

“The entire life of this city depends on Rusal,” said Evgeny Ivanov, until recently a foreman at the plant in Sayanogorsk, where pockmarked asphalt recalls the harsh winters endured by its 60,000 inhabitants, and icy blue mountains line the horizon. Continue Reading →

Chalco first quarter profits fall 19.4 percent on lower aluminum prices – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – April 23, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (601600.SS) (2600.HK), known as Chalco, said on Monday that first-quarter net profits fell by 19.4 percent from a year ago due to lower aluminum prices but one-off gains helped it avoid a much worse result.

The company, China’s biggest state-run aluminum producer, said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that net profit during the January to March was 308.6 million yuan ($48.94 million), versus an adjusted net profit of 382.9 million yuan a year earlier. Revenues, meanwhile, fell by 10.5 percent to 36.7 billion yuan.

The numbers point to thinning margins for aluminum smelters in China, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, in a quarter when prices fell. Continue Reading →

Aluminum Stash Visible From Space Turned to Gold for Trader – by Jack Farchy, Andy Hoffman and Mark Burton (Bloomberg News – April 20, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — Two years ago, a commodity trading house started stockpiling thousands of tons of aluminum near a bend in the Mississippi River outside New Orleans.

Now Castleton Commodities International LLC, the trader backed by hedge fund luminaries including Paul Tudor Jones, is sitting on a veritable gold mine as a scramble for aluminum unfolds in the wake of U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal and Donald Trump’s aluminum tariffs.

Castleton has started selling down its aluminum stash, which at its peak held about 500,000 metric tons of the metal, according to people familiar with the matter. That would be worth about $1.5 billion at today’s prices. Continue Reading →

Goldman Sachs Warns Rusal Shock May Drive Aluminum to $3,000 – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – April 18, 2018)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says that the extraordinary rally in aluminum unleashed by U.S. sanctions against United Co. Rusal may have way, way further to go, forecasting the metal may spike to $3,000 a metric ton, while raising the possibility of further curbs against Russian coal supplies.

The metal may surge to between $2,800 and $3,000 in the near term as the U.S. moves against the second-largest producer have “dramatically affected” the market, the bank said in a note received Wednesday as it boosted price predictions for three, six and 12 months. The $3,000 target is 25 percent above Tuesday’s close, and almost 50 percent above the price before the curbs.

“U.S. sanctions on Russian oligarchs and the companies that they own or control have dramatically affected the aluminum market,” the bank said. “The uncertainty associated with our forecasts is great. In the event that resolutions are not found quickly enough, prices are likely to exceed our forecasts.” Continue Reading →

Aluminum producers push to form global industry group to curb ‘abundant overcapacities’ – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – April 18, 2018)

Canadian aluminum producers are pushing G20 leaders to form a global industry group to manage excess capacity of the metal amid ongoing turbulence in the industry due to U.S. import tariffs on China and sanctions on Russia’s United Company Rusal, the world’s second largest aluminum producer.

The Aluminum Association of Canada, along with similar organizations from Europe, the United States, Japan, Brazil and Mexico sent a joint letter last week pressing foreign ministers to establish a forum similar to the one created for the steel industry at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China in 2016.

The various aluminum associations will hold a preliminary gathering in Montreal on June 4 to develop a “road map” for the proposed Global Aluminum Forum ahead of the 2018 G20 summit in Argentina. Continue Reading →