Aluminium hit highs of $3,000 a tonne for the first time in 13 years on the London Metal Exchange on 9th September. Climbing by as much as 2.6%, the rise has been attributed to supply disruptions throughout the industry, with a recent coup in Guinea and production curbs in China contributing to the sharp rise in price. In China, the metal surged as much as 5.4%, to the highest prices since 2006.
Production concerns in China have been heightened by cutbacks, with the Chinese Communist Party increasing overall scrutiny over highly polluting industries in an attempt to meet its climate commitments.
Aluminium production in China has already been hit by electricity shortages over the summer, especially in south-west Yunnan province. The province, which relies on hydropower, has rationed electricity in recent months due to a prolonged dry season.
China’s largest aluminium smelters held a meeting to address the surge in prices, according to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association. The meeting called the rise in prices “irrational”, and vowed to stabilise the market by ensuring enough supply of the metal and preventing speculation.
Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the country’s largest smelter, saw stocks surge as much as 12% in Hong Kong on Monday. Citigroup Inc. analyst Jack Shang said in a note that Chinese material equities may see a further re-rating, as further government moves to curb steel production in order to cut emissions could boost prices for cement, steel, and aluminium.
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Analysts at Goldman Sachs said that metals prices would only increase due to strong demand in China and developed economies such as the US and Europe. The bank increased its 12-month price target for aluminium to $3,200 a tonne on Monday. It seems likely then that prices will continue to rise as a result of both production concerns and increasing demand throughout the globe for the metal.