The aluminium market whipsawed in 2018, against the backdrop of sanctions, tariffs, trade tensions and surprise production outages. As we start 2019, prospects for global demand are taking centre stage in defining price direction. How demand fares against the background of softer global economic growth will be a key feature of the aluminium market over the next 12 months. On the supply side, watch out for growing margin squeeze at Chinese smelters on the back of elevated cost and low SHFE prices. Chinese smelters will face the dilemma of bringing on new capacity amid weak demand and prices. Uncertainty surrounding the timing of the resumption of full production at the Alunorte refinery also adds to alumina price volatility.