Aluminum futures surge
Aluminum futures extended its rally in late summer to rise above $2,740 a ton in September, the highest since May 2011, as political unrest in Guinea fueled concerns over supplies of the raw material needed to make the metal.
Aluminum has climbed about 40 percent this year amid growing demand helped by massive global stimulus measures and climate change investment, shipping disruptions and tight supply. China suppressed smelting to reduce pollution and meet green targets, while in India, the second-biggest producer of the energy-intensive metal, inadequate coal supply reduced local production. Also, containers used to move industrial metals from Asia to the U.S. and Europe are in short supply.
Aluminum futures are mostly traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME), the New York Mercantile Exchange (COMEX) and the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE). The standard future contract size is five tons. Aluminum is used widely in aerospace applications, packaging, automobiles and railroad cars and as a construction material.
The biggest producers of aluminum are:
- The Aluminum Corporation of China (Chalco)
- Alcoa and Alumina Ltd
- Rio Tinto from Australia
- UC Rusal of Russia
- Xinfa from China
- Norsk Hydro ASA from Norway
- South 32 from Australia
China accounts for nearly 60 percent of global aluminum output. The biggest resources of bauxites, the raw material for aluminum, are located in Australia, China and Guinea.