Trafigura says aluminum rally is ‘over done’ as supply returns

Aluminum ingots. Stock image.

Aluminum prices should decline by at least 6% over the next six months as supply returns to the market and high interest rates continue to crimp manufacturing demand, according to an analyst from Trafigura Group, one of the biggest traders of the metal.

“We’re looking at a very grim demand picture right now,” metals analyst Henry Van said at the CRU World Aluminum Conference in London on Wednesday. “It’s a fundamentally overdone rally.”

Three-month aluminum futures on the London Metal Exchange are up 8% so far this year, having risen recently as part of broad gains across the commodities complex. The metal is used in everything from solar panels to housing, cars and beverage cans.

Prices should revert to an earlier trading range of $2,100 to $2,400 per ton for commodity-grade aluminum over the next six months, Van said, citing worsening consumption, particularly outside of China.

Meanwhile, higher aluminum prices are encouraging smelters to bring back curtailed production, adding to supply.

“We have some of the highest restarts on record at the moment,” Van said.

Bloomberg News reported last Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Trafigura was behind the record delivery of aluminum onto the LME — total stocks doubled in a matter of days to over 1 million tons.

(By Archie Hunter)


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