Aluminum surplus to widen as idled smelters restart

Bloomberg
January 31, 2011
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION

Global aluminum supply will exceed demand by 5.6 percent this year, spurring lower prices, as idled smelters restart and new capacity comes on-stream, Japan’s third-largest trading house said.

Aluminum, used in cars, packaging and houses, gained 11 percent last year, making it the fourth-best performer among six base metals on the London Metal Exchange. The price fell to the lowest in a month this week. Aluminum will probably trade between $2,050 and $2,550 a ton in the first half and between $1,950 and $2,450 in the second, said Motoi Kamitani, manager of light metal trading at Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp., which has stakes in smelters in Australia, Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“This year’s surplus may widen because of the restart of idled production sites, especially in the U.S., and output expansion in India, Brazil and Qatar,” Kamitani said. Japan is Asia’s biggest importer of the metal.

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