Outlook

The alumina industry is driven by primary aluminium production, thus the outlook for primary aluminium will determine the fate of the alumina industry. World primary aluminum consumption has been growing at a CAGR of 3.7% for 40 years. If China is excluded, the ROW’s growth has averaged a CAGR of 2.2% over the same period. Continued steady growth in primary aluminium production is set to continue as populous developing economies such as China, India, South East Asia and South America move to a higher per capita consumptions:

  • China’s primary aluminium consumption is forecast to continue increasing from its existing 17kg per capital figure to achieve or exceed the USA’s peak consumption of 24 kg per capita[1] or even Germany’s 2007 peak consumption of 27.3 kg per capita1.
  • India is expected to gradually increase its usage rate from <2 kg per capita1 towards rates typical of more developed nations (>8 kg per capita1)
  • Brazil is expected to continue increasing its usage rate from ~6 kg per capita1 towards rates typical of more developed nations (>8 kg per capita1)
  • Other parts of Asia are expected to continue increasing their usage rates from ~3kg per capita1 towards rates typical of more developed nations (>8 kg per capita1)

In the short to medium term, continued rapid growth in China, and Indonesia’s 2014 banning of bauxite exports, is forecast to put pressure on China’s domestic bauxite reserves and domestic refining industry. Unless Indonesia relaxes its ban this will create a strong demand for other sources of bauxite imports to China (other than Indonesia) and likely strong demand for alumina imports to China.

Thus the alumina industry will have a turbulent period in the short-medium term, but underpinned by continued steady growth in the longer term.

Source: IAI


[1] Taken from Harbor Aluminum presentations