Alcoa, Inc. Pulls Out of Australian Deal and Closes Smelters

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Alcoa Inc. said Monday it would close a large aluminum smelter in Australia, cutting total capacity by 4.8%, as stubbornly low raw aluminum prices mean “the 50-year-old smelter has no prospect of becoming financially viable,” according to a statement.

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Alcoa said the Point Henry aluminum smelter at Geelong in Victoria state will close in August. The company owns 60% of the smelter through its local joint venture with Australia’s Alumina Ltd.

The company also said it would shut down, by the end of the year, 2 mills that make sheet for beer and soda cans, as it gradually turns away from that business in favor of making aluminum and parts for the higher-margin automotive and aerospace industries. One of those mills is in Geelong and one is in Sydney.

The cash price of primary Indian aluminum saw the biggest increase at 1.2%, finishing at INR 128.50 ($2.10) per kilogram for Friday, November 7. On the LME, the aluminum 3-month price rose 1.0% to $2,053 per metric ton. After falling for two days, the primary aluminum cash price rose 0.7% on the LME to $2,052 per metric ton.

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Chinese aluminum prices were flat for the day. The price of Chinese aluminum scrap was unchanged at CNY 12,250 ($1,995) per metric ton. The price of Chinese aluminum billet continues hovering around CNY 13,590 ($2,213) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese aluminum bar saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row, remaining around CNY 14,200 ($2,312) per metric ton. The Chinese aluminum cash price saw little movement at CNY 13,960 ($2,273) per metric ton.

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