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Aluminum Prod cuts 4.5 MMmtpy – not enough

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Charles Randall 14 years ago.

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  • #3222

    Charles Randall

    <Here is article similar to todays WSJ version on 4.5MM mtpy Aluminum cuts that isnt going to be enough kickstart recovery (sounds familar with Oil Producers cutbacks doesnt it).  Mid article has global table totals by company – 4.5 MM mtpy Aluminum equal loss demand for ~1.8MM mtpy CPC petcoke or 2.4 MMmtpy green petcoke & power supplies as well- CER.>
    Lack Of Aluminum Output Cuts Means Long Recovery Path
    DJ FOCUS: Lack Of Aluminum Output Cuts Means Long Recovery Path

    By Andrea Hotter

    LONDON (Dow Jones)–Unless large aluminum producers make deeper cuts in
    output instead of waiting for their peers to do the job for them, prices will
    take years to recover from their current slump, industry executives said.

    Producers are privately warning that this game of brinkmanship, in which just
    10% of world aluminum output is slated to be taken off-line, is likely to
    create long-lasting damage to the sector.

    Most companies have shown production restraint, albeit sometimes by default,
    such as when plants break down or experience problems with power supply. Yet
    aside from U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (AA) and Netherlands-based Vimetco NV
    (VICO.LN), no other western producer has announced a cut of the size needed to
    make a real difference to the market.

    Middle Eastern producers such as Dubai Aluminium and Aluminium Bahrain
    haven’t announced cuts
    , and nor has India’s National Aluminium Co. Ltd.
    (532234.BY). Mining giant BHP Billiton PLC (BHP) has reduced output in South
    Africa by 120,000 tons, but only in response to trouble getting power from
    local utility Eskom.

    Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY), meanwhile, has simply brought forward a long-scheduled
    potlines closure in Norway by a few months. The bulk of Rio Tinto PLC’s (RTP)
    200,000 tons of cuts are the result of a transformer problem at its smelter at
    Tiwai Point, New Zealand.

    On the face of it, the amount of world production being cut sounds sizable
    enough. As much as 4.5 million metric tons of aluminum is estimated to have
    been removed from production schedules as companies react to the global
    economic downturn and slumping metal prices.

    Some companies outside China may even have taken more output off-line than it
    seems, producers told Dow Jones Newswires. Others are less straightforward to
    keep track of. UC Rusal’s cuts, for instance, jump to 4% to 7% of total company
    output when the closure of its Zaporozhye complex in Ukraine is taken into

    But the crux of the problem is that consumption has collapsed by far more
    than the reduced supply.
    Transportation and construction, two of the biggest
    uses of aluminum, have been badly hit by the economic slowdown, with the
    automotive sector especially affected. Analysts estimate production will still
    exceed demand by at least 3 million tons after these cuts, while official
    stocks are already at 15-year highs.

    “Given the sizable overcapacities, the risk is that producers, especially in
    China, curtail output insufficiently, which means that the aluminum markets may
    have just entered a period of protracted fundamental weakness,” said
    London-based BNP Paribas analyst Michael Widmer.

    The exceptions are few and far between. As the world’s largest producer of
    primary and recycled aluminum, Alcoa has taken some 18% of its total global
    smelting system out of production, the equivalent of 750,000 tons.

    “We’ve been around for 120 years and we’ve been through downturns before and
    know how to work through them,” said Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery. “We
    anticipated the declines in the market and we were the first to begin
    curtailment in the summer of 2008 with Rockdale (in Texas), but we’ve expanded
    that now to continuously adjust capacity with demand,” he added.

    Lowery said that in making cuts, Alcoa considers the way to best maximize
    cash, but also how to ramp down quickly and efficiently, with the flexibility
    to be able to ramp back up quickly when the economy recovers.

    Vimetco, meanwhile, plans to remove more than 40% of its global production
    capacity from the market
    , or around 385,000 tons. The bulk of the cuts are in
    China, with the rest in Romania.

    Instead of headline-making production cuts, other western producers prefer to
    lock up metal in warehouses, attracted by lucrative financing deals, said
    people familiar with warehousing.

    To be sure, any cuts are a step in the right direction and have prevented
    aluminum from falling as far as some of the other industrial metals, whose
    production cuts have been proportionally far smaller.

    Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange have halved since their peak in
    July at $3,380/ton. By comparison, copper, zinc and lead are at close to a
    third of their peak value
    , while nickel is less than a quarter of its former

    Yet analysts estimate growth in demand for aluminum was down by 2.5% in 2008
    and is likely to fall even further in 2009, meaning the aluminum cuts restrict,
    but don’t remove, the growing market surplus.

    “The market is facing a massive inventory surplus, and this will take a very
    long time to work off,” said Macquarie Bank analyst Adam Rowley. “We’re looking
    at years of very low prices if more capacity isn’t cut.”

    LME aluminum stocks exceed 2.4 million tons, a level last seen in September
    1994. On top of this, the International Aluminum Institute estimates producer
    stocks of unwrought aluminum to be 1.6 million tons, with around 286,000 tons
    in Japanese ports. Including stocks in other exchanges, reported aluminum
    stocks are now around 4.45 million tons, about six weeks’ worth of global

    This doesn’t include stocks held outside the public warehouse reporting
    system, which don’t show up in official data. Macquarie estimates that as much
    as a million tons of metal has built up in stocks in China. The history of
    hidden stocks in China is long documented.

    China too has been cutting output, but nowhere near the amount needed to make
    a difference. State-owned aluminum giant Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (ACH), or
    Chalco, the country’s biggest producer, has cut about 720,000 tons, around 18%
    of its total capacity.

    Smaller, privately owned Chinese companies account for a further 1.8 million
    tons of cuts, according to analyst calculations, although it’s difficult to be
    sure of the exact amount. But the Chinese cuts are from a very high planned
    production level that keeps China at an output level that is still very high,
    analysts said.

    Company Cutback Additional info

    Alcoa 750,000 tons 18% of co output
    Vimetco 385,000 tons 44% of co output
    Rio Tinto Alcan 200,000 tons Includes Tiwai Point; 5%
    Rusal 293,000 tons 7% of co output
    Norsk Hydro 120,000 tons Karmoey; 7% of output
    60,000 tons Podgerica smelter
    Impexmetal 55,000 tons Konin smelter
    Vale 57,000 tons 60% cut at Valesul
    TALCO 42,150 tons Tajikistan; 10% output
    Century Aluminum 41,400 tons More possible Feb 15
    MALCO (Vedanta) 40,000 tons Dec 10; 100% cut
    Mostar 33,750 tons Bosnia smelter; 25% cut
    Columbia Falls 33,000 tons 20% cut at smelter
    Chalco 720,000 tons
    Other China 1,780,000 tons Various smelters

    TOTAL excl China 2,110,300 tons
    TOTAL incl China 4,610,300 tons

    -By Andrea Hotter, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9413;

    (END) Dow Jones Newswires

  • #6331

    Charles Randall

    Here is DJ posted article showing World Aluminum production cuts that was in the WSJ this morning about World production cut totaling 4.5 MM mtpy Aluminum & listed the countries/companies that had made cuts (~China was about half I believe) but needed to cut another 3MM mtpy to kickstart a recovery.
    The 4.5 MMmtpy lost Aluminum production would mean that about 1.8MM mtpy CPC petcoke wouldn’t be needed (or 2.4 MMmtpy green anode petcoke) – which is good for market & price stability since this volume petcoke would be ~ similar loss range from the refineries that are cutting back their crude & production runs due poor margins & demand. The power demand to the smelters will also be reduced.

    I believe the DJ article Jan 12 might be the same article but do not have a subscription to WSJ online – if you will know but if not …. you still have this DJ version news item on the posted recap.  Note several of these (like Norsk Karmoey closure – were mentioned in earlier article on Recap of December Metals/Market production closures /cutbacks for Aluminum/copper/zinc & other plants.
    Here is link to the WSJ version (I believe) for comparison:
    Brinkmanship Impacts Aluminum Prices –  
    < >
    Jan 19, 2009 As a registered user of The Wall Street Journal Online, you will be able to: …. take years to recover from their slump, industry executives said. On the face of it, the amount of world production being cut sounds sizable enough. As much as 4.5 million metric tons of aluminum is estimated to

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