BHP Billiton May Cut 450 Jobs; Chinese Aluminum Billet Falls 4.3%

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BHP Billiton Ltd. may be cutting “as many as 450 jobs amid plans to close its Bayside aluminum smelter in South Africa,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

“BHP Billiton ‘began a formal consultation with employees in its Aluminium South Africa business on a proposal to cease smelting activities and associated services at Bayside,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. The Richards Bay-based operation, in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province “has been under significant and ongoing financial pressure.’”

“Aluminum’s cash settlement price decreased by 6 percent during BHP’s 2013 fiscal year, the company said in its latest annual report. Demand for the metal slowed while new supply continued to be added, which contributed to an increasing market surplus.”

In metal price news for aluminum…

This past week, Chinese aluminum billet dropped 4.3 percent on the weekly Aluminum MMI® as the week’s biggest mover. The Chinese aluminum cash price fell 2.8 percent for the week to settle. Prices for Chinese aluminum bar remained constant, closing the week. Chinese aluminum scrap prices held steady from the previous week.

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Following a 1.3 percent drop on the LME, the aluminum 3-month price finished the week. The cash price of primary aluminum declined to $1,715 per metric ton after drifting 1.2 percent on the LME since last week. With a 0.6 percent decrease, the cash price of primary Indian aluminum closed the week.

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Korean 3003 coil premium over 1050 sheet remained essentially flat from the previous week. The price of Korean 5052 coil premium over 1050 sheet did not change since the previous week. European 5083 plate remained unchanged for the week. European 1050 aluminum traded sideways last week.

The Aluminum MMI® collects and weights 12 global aluminum price points to provide a unique view into aluminum price trends. For more information on the Aluminum MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.