Steel Products

CRU aluminum: A call for import monitoring and sustainable practices

Written by Marziyeh Horeh


Here’s the latest on the aluminum markets from CRU analyst Marziyeh Horeh.

Aluminum prices

The LME aluminum 3-month price was broadly unchanged on the morning of Dec. 1, last seen trading at $2,195 per metric ton.

SHFE cash was also broadly stable after falling to a three-month low on Nov. 30. The cash contract settled at RMB18,625 per metric ton and last traded at RMB18,640 per metric ton.

Norwegian producer Hydro increases sustainability and profit ambitions

At Hydro’s Capital Markets Day 2023, the Norwegian producer lifted its ambitions regarding sustainability. Towards 2030, Hydro said it will step up growth in aluminum recycling and extrusions and in its ambitions within renewable power generation.

Among its key objectives are:

  • A NOK2 billion ($188 million) greener earnings uplift by 2030, stepping up growth in extrusions to NOK10–12 billion EBITDA in 2030;
  • Increasing CO2 reduction target until 2030, maintaining 30% target despite portfolio changes;
  • Increasing improvement program to NOK14 billion in 2030, including additional potential from digitalization;
  • And increasing commercial ambitions to NOK6.1 billion in 2030.

Hydro also increased its projection for capital expenditures to NOK15 billion annually, quoting global inflation and currency effects.

“Based on our leading position we are now shifting gear. Towards 2030 we are stepping up growth ambitions in extrusions, recycling and renewable power generation aimed at capturing market opportunities emerging from the green transition,” said Hydro President and CEO Hilde Merete Aasheim. The full online statement can be found on Hydro’s website.

Hydro joins the First Movers Coalition to accelerate green transition

In other news for Hydro, the Norwegian producer announced that it would join the First Movers Coalition “to signal demand for the clean technologies needed to reach zero.” The First Movers Coalition is a group of leading global companies combining their purchasing power to help commercialize low-carbon technologies. Led by the World Economic Forum and the US government, the FMC targets hard-to-abate sectors, including aluminum, steel, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, and trucking, which are responsible for 30% of global emissions.

“I am proud to announce that Hydro is joining the First Movers Coalition, signaling our determination to taking responsibility and leading the way for the world to reach the climate targets. The challenge of climate change transcends borders and industries, and we can only maintain the critical climate pathway of 1.5ºC if we work together to create new markets for a sustainable future,” said Aasheim.

In particular, Hydro will participate in the FMC aluminum sector commitment via its extrusion business, annually committing to at least 10% of all primary aluminum procured externally to be near-zero emissions by 2030.

European producer Alro announces two new investments

Alro SA recently announced two investment projects worth $4.22 million aimed at increasing product quality control capabilities. The company will acquire a second non-destructive ultrasonic examination (USL) system and an electrical conductivity measurement system for flat-rolled products. These new acquisitions allow a complete and automatic scanning of aluminum alloy plates on both surfaces (upper and lower), therefore ensuring an accurate verification of the internal structure and uniformity of heat treatments. Also, by using ultrasonic control to check the internal structure and perform electrical conductivity measurements on both surfaces, an additional guarantee is ensured regarding the quality of manufactured aluminum alloy plates.

“These investments represent another important step in implementing Alro’s strategy to increase the output of complex products with high profitability by implementing best practices and high-performance, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly technologies,” said Gheorghe Dobra, CEO of Alro.

North American aluminum industry calls for import monitoring and sustainable practices

North American aluminum associations, including the Aluminum Association, Instituto Mexicano del Aluminio, and the Aluminum Association of Canada, have jointly advocated for enhanced import monitoring while reaffirming their commitment to tariff-free trade within North America. In a letter to trade officials, the associations emphasized the longstanding collaboration that has facilitated cross-border trade, with Canada and Mexico being significant aluminum trading partners with the US. The groups are urging continued tariff exemptions under Section 232 of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and express concern about a 15-country trade case that includes Mexico. They also call for Mexico to implement an aluminum import monitoring program. The letter highlights past challenges, including trans-shipment schemes with Chinese aluminum, emphasizing the need for ongoing vigilance and enforcement of global trade laws. Additionally, the associations stress their support for sustainability initiatives and call on governments to aid industry decarbonization and the broader aluminum sustainability agenda.

This article was first published by CRU. Learn more about CRU’s services at www.crugroup.com.

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