Alcoa and Novelis’ New Automotive Aluminum Problem? Small Competitors

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Aluminum giants Alcoa Inc and Novelis Inc spent decades wooing Detroit’s automakers to toss out their heavy steel vehicle bodies and overhaul their factories in order to mass produce vehicles made out of lighter aluminum.

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This year, with Ford Motor Co’s launch of its new aluminum-intensive F-150 truck, they are finally reaping the benefits of that long campaign, a once-a-generation shift in demand for an industry struggling with weak metal demand. Their triumphant moment is being marred, however, Reuters reports. A handful of up-and-coming rivals are riding their coattails into an industry that could be worth $10 billion in a decade.

Since Ford unveiled the truck’s new design, Constellium NV has announced plans to build a US body sheet plant while Aleris Corp and Wise Metals Group are considering a foray into the burgeoning U.S. sheet market.

The day’s biggest mover was the cash price of primary Indian aluminum which dropped by 0.6 percent on Wednesday, June 18 to close at INR 110.65 ($1.83) per kilogram. At $1,852, the 3-month price of aluminum finished the market day on the LME up 0.5 percent per metric ton. After a 0.4 percent increase, the primary aluminum cash price finished the day on the LME at $1,808 per metric ton.

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Chinese aluminum prices were flat for the day. The cash price of Chinese aluminum saw little change in its price yesterday at CNY 13,265 ($2,130) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 12,250 ($1,967) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese aluminum billet held flat at CNY 13,590 ($2,183) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum bar was unchanged at CNY 14,200 ($2,280) per metric ton.

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