A significant part of this change was a consequence of the chaos that developed in the market after producer Norsk Hydro was compelled to declare force majeure at its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil in March 2018.
“If I look back, this is the most ‘psychological’ the market has been. The price moves on a rumor, or a worry, or any concern that another big supply disruption might happen,” a consumer said recently. “The market does not sit and wait for concrete news any more.”
This was most recently seen in May 2019 when alumina prices fell on news that Alunorte would be permitted to ramp up to full production capacity despite significant supply problems in China.
“[Price estimates in] the alumina market fell before any extra tonnages from Hydro even hit the market. [There was] one press release and people changed their minds [about how much they should pay],” a trader told...