Aluminum price rises but inventories soar

The price of aluminum on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was $2,247 per metric ton on Tuesday, not all that far from a number targeted by a community information group two months ago as a level where Alcoa might begin thinking about re-starting Rockdale Operations.

But there’s much more to be factored. “Yes the price of metal has come up quite a bit since last year,” Alcoa spokesman Jim Hodson said. “But inventories are also quite high.”

The LME listed 4.6 million metric tons of inventory.

In October, at a meeting of the Community Advisory Panel for Rockdale Operations (CAPARO), the figure of $2,400 to $2,500 per metric ton was floated as a possible re-start level. When production was curtailed the LME price was around $1,300 per metric ton.

The power cost issue at the Rockdale smelter, including the Alcoa-Luminant lawsuit, is another determining factor in any possible re-start. Power cost was given as the prime reason for shutting down the smelter.

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