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Is China to blame for the collapse of the US aluminium smelting industry?

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13 February 2017

Is China to blame for the collapse of the US aluminium smelting industry?

Report summary

The sharp price decline in the LME aluminium price in late 2015 forced substantial output cuts in the US. Following the 1 Mt output cuts and subsequent job losses, the US launched a complaint against Chinese aluminium subsidies at the World Trade Organisation, accusing Beijing of providing cheap loans and subsidised energy to smelters.  In effect, the complaint blames the rapid decline in the US smelting industry solely on unfair practices in China. However, the drawn-out decline in US primary metal output is also down to internal cost factors.

Table of contents

    • US ratchets up pressure on China
      • The decline in US aluminium production
    • US versus China
    • Power struggle
    • Who is benefitting from the hollowing out of US smelting?
    • US becomes largest primary aluminium importer, all eyes on the US Midwest premia

Tables and charts

This report includes 9 images and tables including:

  • Components of (C1) cash cost 2016
  • China rapidly closing the gap in power tariffs
  • Self-generated power (%)
  • Primary aluminium smelter cell operating amperage (kA)
  • US primary aluminium balance
  • Unwrought aluminium imports
  • Plate, sheet and strip imports
  • Foil imports
  • US primary aluminium production (kt)

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Is China to blame for the collapse of the US aluminium smelting industry?

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