CRU aluminum news roundup: Mexico tariffs and earnings

Written by Marziyeh Horeh

Mexico introduces import tariffs on aluminum and other goods

Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in his final couple of months in office, has announced the immediate introduction of import tariffs ranging between 5–50% on a wide range of goods under 544 tariff codes. This follows growing pressure from the US regarding the threat of Chinese imports reaching the US through Mexico.

From an aluminum perspective, this includes a 35% duty on unalloyed aluminum and 20% duty on aluminum alloys. It will therefore impact not just P1020 but also value-added products. On extrusions and some finished aluminum products, the new duties range between 20–35%, depending on the specified code of the product. On rolled products, the only code that appears to be affected is 7606.12.99, which has a duty of 30%. This accounted for approximately 47% of Mexican rolled product imports last year, according to data from Global Trade Tracker, but it means the code that captures sheet for beverages is not included.

Constellium’s Q1 results reveal weak demand – in particular for extrusions

Constellium reported its latest quarterly results for Q1’24. Adjusted Ebitda came in at €137 million (USD$147 million), down 8.6% year over year (y/y) amid revenue of €1.7 billion (USD$1.8 billion), down 12% y/y. Shipments totaled 380,000 metric tons (mt) in Q1, representing a drop of 2% y/y.

The adjusted Ebitda for Packaging & Automotive Rolled Products (P&ARP) was down 21% y/y at €43 million ($USD46 million) amid revenue of €938 million (USD$1 billion), down 9% y/y. However, shipments were up 2% y/y at 264,000 mt. For Aerospace & Transportation (A&T), adjusted Ebitda was 10% higher y/y at €80 million (USD$86 million) despite  a drop of 2% y/y in revenue (€441 million) and a drop of 1% y/y in shipments (57,000 mt). Finally, the adjusted Ebitda for Automotive Structures & Industry (AS&I) came in at €33 million (USD$35 million), down 23% y/y amid a drop of 25% y/y in revenue (€364 million) and a drop of 17% y/y in shipments (59,000 mt).

Jean-Marc Germain, Constellium’s CEO said: “Our team delivered solid first-quarter results despite a mixed end-market demand environment and significant weather-related impacts in the quarter at our facility in Muscle Shoals (, Ala.).”

He added: “A&T delivered record first-quarter Segment Adjusted Ebitda with continued strength in aerospace. Packaging shipments, and can sheet specifically, were up in the quarter. Automotive demand remained healthy in the quarter in North America with softer demand continuing in Europe. We continued to experience weakness in most industrial markets.”

Hydro’s Q1 results improve sequentially but company cautious ahead of Q2

Norsk Hydro released its Q1’24 results. The Norwegian producer posted an adjusted Ebitda of NOK5.411 billion (USD$495 million), down 28% y/y but up 44.7% quarter over quarter. As for the unadjusted Ebitda, it came in slightly higher at NOK5.511 billion amid an unrealized profit of NOK31 million on power contracts and NOK78 million on foreign exchange. Lower aluminum sales prices, extrusions volumes and recycling margins, as well as higher fixed costs negatively impacted results in Q1, Hydro said but this was partly offset by lower raw material costs.

The adjusted Ebitda for its primary metal division was at NOK1.965 billion – a drop of 50.5% y/y and up 1.4% quarter over quarter. Hydro said the results were down due to lower all-in metal prices, reduced contribution from power sales and increased fixed cost. This was partly offset by lower carbon cost and positive currency effects.

Primary production came in at 505,000 mt, up 6,000 mt y/y but down by 9,000 mt quarter over quarter. Sales of 540,000 mt were down only 1,000 mt from last quarter but down 19,000 mt from last year. The all-in price, including the premium, was up $129/mt from last quarter at $2,606/mt but down $188/mt from last year. The implied all-in primary cost was up $100/mt from last quarter at $2,225/mt but still down $50/mt from last year.

Hydro said it expected even higher raw material and fixed costs in Q2’24 but also higher sales volume. It also said it had around 73% of its primary production for Q2 priced at $2,272/mt and 47% of premiums booked at $393/mt. 

Hydro’s results for its extrusions segment were lower y/y but much higher quarter over quarter. The adjusted Ebitda of NOK1.437 billion was down 35.3% y/y but up as much as 55.6% quarter over quarter. Compared to last year, Hydro said the results were down on lower sales volumes, lower recycling margins and higher costs, partly offset by higher sales margins and currency effects.

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Marziyeh Horeh

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