The aluminium market service short term outlook (STO) is published monthly and provides a forecast of aluminium supply and demand fundamentals over the next two-years. The aluminium market hit a three week high at the end of December with the official LME price above the $2100/t level. Disappointment over the scale of the winter cuts in early December has given way in recent days to a bit more optimism following the release of November NBS output data, which points to a further contraction in Chinese smelter output. However, at current prices there are plenty of reasons for smelters in China and the World ex-China to pull the trigger on higher production. The risk to our 2018 base case forecast is skewed towards a bigger market surplus and lower than projected prices.