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Australia to witness major drop in alumina export in H1 FY2017-18
The global demand of alumina, the key electrolyte for aluminium production through Hall Heroult method, though rising significantly is lending little support to Australia’s exports. The largest exporter of alumina in 2016 is nearing a drop in the mineral commodity export, if quarterly estimates are to be believed.
For the entire year of 2016, Australia’s estimated alumina export totalled at 8.4 million tonnes. In the first quarter of the current financial, that is, during May-June 2017, total alumina export from the country is estimated to reach 2.3 million tonnes, down from 4.93 million tonnes in the corresponding period previous year. The estimates are bleak for the next quarter as well. In Q2 FY 2017-18, alumina exports by Australia will reach 2.5 million tonnes, down from 4.98 million tonnes in the same period previous year.
Proposed aluminium output capacity cut by China and rising competition from Brazil can be viewed as the main reasons behind the decreasing aluminium exports by Australia. The countries where Australia has been exporting its major chunk of alumina since last year include Argentina, Canada, Japan, India, Iceland, Malaysia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Qatar, South Africa, South Korea, and USA.
Revenue realization from alumina export has also gone down quarter-on-quarter in Australia. As per global trade statistics, value of alumina export by Australia in Q1 FY2017-18 is estimated to reach US$840 million, down from US$1.23 billion in Q1 FY2016-17. In Q2 FY 2017-18, value of alumina exports would reach US$862 million, down from US$1.23 billion in Q2 FY 2016-18.
Australia will continue to be a major producer of alumina, providing over 18 per cent of the global supply. The alumina refining industry here is highly concentrated with three major players, Alcoa, Rio Tinto, and South32- all vertically integrated with upstream bauxite mining and downstream aluminium smelting operations. It remains to be seen how these companies strategize their export moves to best leverage the dormant alumina demand which is projected to shoot up by the end of the current financial year.Get fresh Aluminium data and insights
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