The aluminium market had been inactive in 2017-2018 until the US imposed sanctions against Russia?s Rusal in April. I expect a deficit this year for the global aluminium market, but next year it will return to a moderate surplus. At this case I expect positive trend of the aluminium prices in the near term, which will start to decline in 2019. In addition the possibility of removal of sanctions from Rusal leaves room for downward trend of aluminium prices. So my long-term outlook on aluminium prices is negative.
I expect that global aluminum market will remain in deficit. Taking into account that in 2017 ROW reported stocks have declined to pre-2008 crisis levels, I believe that aluminum prices will grow in middle and long term. Structural deficit will be supported by the following factors: (1) there are no new significant supply projects beyond 2017, (2) ongoing supply cuts in China, (3) demand growth (manufacturing activity increasing in USA and Europe, higher car production in Asia, etc.)
Aluminum prices have spiked after newsflow and official data confirming that Chinese illegal capacity cuts are real and happening (even the most persistent naysayers, like me, have had to accept this). However, I tend to the view that much of the upside has been now priced in, and stocks accumulated in advance should soften much of the blow when the new cuts begin. Moreover, I learn that a lot of smelters (outside China, or even in China) are trying to capitalize on the situation and increase production into the rally. I thus see prices rallying only a little beyond spot levels in the next few months, to $2,100-$2,200/t in 2018. After 2019 I expect downward trend in Aluminum price (up to $1,800-$1,900/t)