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Chalco H1 profits dive, aluminium output slips back behind Rusal

* Chalco H1 net profit down 95% y/y; Q2 result worst since 2018

* Aluminium production 1.86 mln T vs 1.87 mln T for Rusal

* Rebound in aluminium prices set to boost profitability in H2

BEIJING, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Aluminum Corp of China Ltd , or Chalco, said on Thursday profits fell 95% year-on-year in the first half due to lower aluminium and alumina prices, while its primary metal production slipped just below that of Russian rival Rusal.

Chalco, a listed arm of state-owned aluminium firm Chinalco, reported net income of 35.71 million yuan ($5.19 million) in January-June, down from an adjusted 707.41 million yuan a year earlier, according to a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Last year’s first-half income was boosted by a substantial gain on an asset sale, exacerbating the drop in earnings this year.

The six-month net income figure implies a profit of only 5 million yuan for the second quarter, which would mark Chalco’s worst quarterly result since a net loss in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

In terms of production, Chalco said first-half primary aluminium output was 1.86 million tonnes. That was down slightly from 1.89 million tonnes reported a year earlier and below Rusal’s 1.87 million tonnes.

Chalco overtook here Rusal as the world's second-biggest listed aluminium producer in 2018.

Parent Chinalco, which is not listed itself but also controls Yunnan Aluminium, is now the world’s top producer by capacity, followed by China Hongqiao Group .

Meanwhile, Chalco’s production of aluminium raw material alumina rose 5.74% in January-June year-on-year to 7.2 million tonnes.

The company shut down three alumina production lines in July due to low prices.

Overall first-half revenues fell 11.5% to 84.11 billion yuan as Chalco said Shanghai aluminium prices averaged 4.3% lower year-on-year at 13,191 yuan a tonne, but noted a rebound in the third quarter.

After a coronavirus-driven collapse in early 2020, Chinese demand has recovered dramatically and Shanghai aluminium prices last week hit their highest since April 2018 at almost 15,000 yuan, painting a much rosier outlook for Chalco in the second half of the year.

$1 = 6.8845 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Susan Fenton

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