Global alumina prices have been on a rollercoaster over the past year due to extreme changes in the supply picture and the varying role of China in the market.
On August 19 this year, Fastmarkets assessed the benchmark alumina index, fob Australia, at $297.61 per tonne, 47% lower than a year ago when the index was at over $560 per tonne. Alumina prices in Western Australia, Brazil and China are all trading close to their lowest level in over two years.
This is in stark contrast to this time last year, when alumina prices were trading close to record highs, following strikes at Alcoa’s refineries in Western Australia and the production embargo at Hydro’s Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.
In 2018, alumina prices were buoyed due to extreme market tightness on news that Hydro’s Alunorte was running at just 50% capacity.
“A year ago when the alumina price was still over $500 per...