April 28, 2020 / 3:39 PM / a month ago

FACTBOX-Aluminium operations shuttered due to coronavirus

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - The aluminium market is expected to see a massive surplus this year as demand plummets due to the coronavirus and still growing supply.

A recent Reuters survey showed analysts on average expect the aluminium market to see a surplus of 2.6 million tonnes this year and 1.8 million tonnes in 2021.

Large amounts of capacity needs to be idled to balance the market. But many producers will not cut, partly because the cost of inputs such as electricity, carbon and alumina have tumbled, supporting their margins.

Companies that have cut aluminium output have largely done so because of lockdowns due to the new coronavirus.

April 17 - Rio Tinto has shut down the fourth pot-line at the Tiwai Point smelter in New Zealand (NZAS) with production continuing on three lines, to comply here with government lockdown requirements.

Tiwai Point produced 69,000 tonnes of aluminium in Q4 2019 and 279,000 tonnes last year. Potline 4 accounts for around 10% of aluminium production at Tiwai Point.

April 14 - Norsk Hydro has pushed back the restart of idled capacity at its Husnes plant in Norway to the third quarter of this year at the earliest. Husnes has capacity to produce 190,000 tonnes of aluminium a year, it is currently producing 95,000 tonnes a year.

March 30 - Argentina's Aluar has temporarily closed 50% of its 460,000-tonne per year Puerto Madryn here plant to comply with the government's emergency quarantine measures.

March 24 - Chinese aluminium smelters have cut their annual production capacity by up to 340,000 tonnes.

March 23 - Norsk Hydro's Primary Metal business will temporarily idle recycling operations in France and in Luxembourg. bit.ly/2wquVQx

March 13 - Rusal delays launch of the Taishet aluminium smelter, with capacity of 428,500 tonnes a year, to the first half of 2021 from late 2020. (Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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