INTERVIEW: Aluminium prices capped by China overcapacity, Norsk Hydro CEO says

Plans for new aluminium smelting capacity in China would weigh on an already oversupplied market and place a further restraint on prices, according to the chief executive officer of Norsk Hydro.

With increased metal capacity already expected in Canada, the Middle East and Brazil in 2020, Hilde Merete Aasheim told Fastmarkets that a key question is whether China pushes ahead with previously announced projects.
“New smelter builds in China will push the global supply-demand balance into surplus. The timing of those, and whether they do materialize, is a key question,” she said during an interview.
New aluminium projects including capacity swap and capacity replacement, have been under construction for some time. China Hongqiao Group, for instance, is currently moving around a third of its smelting capacity to Yunnan from Shandong province in a bid to cut its reliance on coal-fired energy and avoid environmentally-driven closures in the process.
Norsk Hydro is currently forecasting a primary aluminium surplus in 2020 of 800,000-1.1 million tonnes.

Aasheim said that the impact of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Chinese production will also be an...

Published

Andrea Hotter

February 14, 2020

06:32 GMT

New York