Commodities Buzz: US Primary Aluminium Production Declines for Fifth Straight Year

U.S. production of primary aluminum decreased for the fifth consecutive year, declining by about 12% from that in 2016 and 64% from that in 2012. This was the lowest level since 1951 when production was 759,000 tons. In June, the owner of a 269,000-ton-per-year smelter in Evansville, IN, which was permanently shut down in 2016, announced that the shutdown would be revised to temporary and that about 160,000 tons per year of capacity would be restarted in 2018. In October, domestic smelters were operating at about 37% of capacity of 2 million tons per year. As prices generally increased throughout the year, world primary aluminum production increased slightly in 2017 compared with production in 2016. Global resources of bauxite are estimated to be between 55 to 75 billion tons and are sufficient to meet world demand for metal well into the future.