Global aluminum output up 5.8% in Jan-Aug to 40 mil mt: Australia DIIS

Monday, Oct 09, 2017

  Global aluminum production in the first eight months of 2017 increased by 5.8% year-on-year, to over 40 million mt, the Australian government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said.

This was driven by strong growth in China (7.7% year-on-year), other Asian countries (14% year-on-year), and South America (3% year-on-year), the office said.

Chinese aluminum producers have tried to compensate for imminent winter production cuts mandated by Beijing, by increasing output in the first half of 2017 by 11% year-on-year, to nearly 17 million mt, the office said.

However, global aluminum production for the full year is forecast to fall by 0.3% in 2017 to 58 million mt, the DIIS said, driven by a projected 4.3% fall in Chinese output to 30 million mt, on the back of Beijing’s crackdowns on air pollution and illegal capacity.

Some of China’s production cuts will be offset by expected rises in other Asian countries (up 21%) and the Middle East (up 2.3%), the DIIS said.

The Australian office is more conservative its forecast of China’s aluminum output for 2017, compared with the Chinese government. Last week, Beijing Antaike, the state-run metals consultancy forecast the country’s aluminum production at about 36 million mt for the year, up 10.3% from 32.65 million mt in 2016.

Antaike put China’s aluminum production for 2018 at 38 million mt, up 5.6% on year.


Global aluminum production is projected to resume growing in 2018 and 2019 at an annual average rate of 6%, with output reaching 65 million mt by 2019, driven by increased capacity in China, the Middle East and the US, the DIIS said.

Expected aluminum price increases in 2017 will encourage some idle plants to restart, while in China, existing and new capacities that have been closed by regulators will be allowed to reopen after the 2017-18 winter season, the office said.

The office said production costs, especially rising power prices, will continue to be an ongoing concern for Australian aluminum smelters in coming years.

Australian aluminium smelters can expect to be operating at a loss in 2018 and 2019, based on estimated average LME aluminum prices of $1,995/mt and $1,957/mt respectively, it said.

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