Aluminium International Today Issue
Jan/Feb 2019

Jan/Feb 2019

A Chinese New Year?

The first day back in January usually sees me staring at a blank column on my computer screen for a good few minutes, before trying to contemplate what the next year could possibly have in store for the global aluminium industry.

Without a crystal ball to hand, I’ve turned to market outlooks as a more reliable source.

The general predictions are vague, as the word ‘prediction’ suggests, but the consensus is that the industry should brace for multiple headwinds and potential deficit in 2019.

In terms of supply, after years of double-digit output growth, China’s production rate is losing steam, according to industry analysts Wood Mackenzie.

With a tough stance on new, unauthorised capacity coming into effect, smelter expansions and the pace of growth has slowed somewhat across the region, but global aluminium production will remain at a healthy level.

Alf Barrios, CEO of Rio Tinto summed up in an interview at the end of 2018: “People believed China was going to be a significant net exporter to the rest of the world in the future, I think people now see China being more balanced.”

As always, the level of supply, along with developments between the US and China will continue to play a part in determining the price per tonne. This is certainly an area where that crystal ball might be worth its weight...in aluminium.

Front cover courtesy of Granco Clark