Russian Federation aluminium titan U.C. Rusal released operating results for the second quarter of 2019 on Friday. Production of aluminium and alumina remained essentially level, with sales in the quarter increasing to catch up on a backlog of product trapped in inventory due to last year’s OFAC sanctions.
In the first quarter Rusal produced 938 thousand metric tons of primary aluminium, up by 1 percent on the quarter. Krasnoyarsk led the way with 255 thousand metric tons of aluminium production, besting the Bratsk smelter by 3 million metric tons. Overall, Siberian smelters accounted for 93 percent of the firm’s total aluminium output in the quarter.
Sales of aluminium totaled 1,082 thousand metric tons in the second quarter, beating the prior quarter by 20.8 percent. Rusal credits a sell-down of inventories hemmed in last year by sanctions placed upon it by the United States government for the rise. Sales of value-added products rose by 59.9 percent on the quarter due to a planned gradual recovery in the overall sales mix.
Rusal’s first-quarter output of alumina totaled 1,918 thousand metric tons, off by 0.7 percent from the first quarter. Aughinish Alumina led production with 470 thousand metric tons, leading Nikolaev Alumina by 60 thousand metric tons. Rusal’s refineries in Russia made up about 36 percent of the quarter’s total refined product.
Bauxite production in the second quarter totaled 4,242 thousand metric tons, a 10.7-percent increase from the prior quarter. Russia’s Timan mine led the pack with 926 thousand metric tons, increasing production by 39.6 percent on the quarter. Guinea’s Kindia mine was the next-best producer last quarter, harvesting 885 thousand metric tons. Rusal credits the rise as the product of a seasonal accumulation of inventories in the North Urals and Timan mines.
For the first half of 2019 Rusal smelted 1,867 thousand metric tons of aluminium, essentially equal to the prior year. Alumina production was steady as well, totaling 3,850 thousand metric tons, while bauxite production rose by 28.6 percent on the year to 8,073 thousand metric tons.
Rusal says the tension between the United States and Chinese governments continue to hinder economic growth and weigh down aluminium demand. With demand growing by a tepid 1 percent in the first half, the firm predicts no better for the closing half of the year. Production in the first half grew by 1 percent, with aluminium inventories falling and the overall market left with a global aluminium deficit of 1.1 million metric tons during the year’s first half.