Russian Federation aluminium titan UC Rusal released operating results for the second quarter earlier today. The firm posted steady gains over the previous quarter across the board in both production and sales.
Aluminium production in the quarter totaled 921 thousand metric tons, a 1.2-percent increase quarter-on-quarter, with a utilization rate that remained steady at 95 percent. Aluminium foil packaging production rose significantly in the quarter, jumping from 23.1 thousand metric tons in Q1 to 26 thousand metric tons, a 12.8-percent increase. This increase in aluminium foil dovetailed with a 13.1-percent increase in overall value-added products. Rusal chalks this increase up to an ongoing push to increase value-added production, and the increases were achieved thanks to gains in productivity and relevant facilities upgrades.
Alumina production was also up in the quarter, to 1,928 thousand metric tons, up 2.1 percent quarter-on-quarter from 1,889 thousand metric tons last quarter. The firm indicates that such numbers were in line with objectives for the quarter, boosted by increased production at Achinsk and Urals refineries.
Bauxite production also rose, from 2,869 thousand metric tons in Q1 to 3,090 thousand metric tons last quarter, and nepheline production rose 5.2 percent to a total of 1,111 thousand metric tons. Rusal credits seasonal factors for the rise as well as increased production at Timan and Kia Shaltyr to fuel the Achinsk and Urals refineries.
Sales from aluminium were strong in the quarter, totaling 1,002 thousand metric tons, an increase of 1.7 percent over last quarter’s total sales of 985 thousand metric tons. Realized price rose as well, going from US$1,949 per metric ton in Q1 to US$2,087 in the just-ended quarter, which is a 7.1-percent difference. Rusal credits the realized price increase to a corresponding increase of prices at the London Metal Exchange over the course of the quarter.
Demand and Prices Up as China Comes Into Balance
Rusal says global aluminium demand, which it calculated to have increased by 5.7 percent in the first half of the year, teamed up with expectations of production disruption in the People’s Republic of China and a dramatic rise in production cost inflation to drive up prices at the LME in the quarter. The company expects capacity cuts in China to continue to bring that country’s aluminium situation further into balance over the remainder of this year and into 2018 as well.