What are the top aluminum-producing countries? China’s output was the highest by far in 2017, clocking in at 32.6 million MT of the metal.
After a few challenging years for the resource space, aluminum-producing countries enjoyed higher prices and higher production in 2017.
Supply and demand improved, with some countries producing more than ever despite the trade war between the US and China. The US Geological Survey notes that world aluminum output increased slightly in 2017, coming in at 60 million MT compared to 58.9 million MT the previous year.
Mine production: 32.6 million MT
First on this list of aluminum-producing countries is China, which was once again responsible for more than half of global aluminum output in 2017. It put out 32.6 million MT, and also consumed a considerable amount of the metal.
Looking ahead, S&P Global Platts says that the country’s demand for the metal will level off to between 46 and 50 million MT as we approach 2023.
On the supply side, Chinese aluminum output could be somewhat restricted in the future due to the government’s five-year anti-pollution measures, introduced at the end of 2016. With political tensions running high in 2018, and the trade war between China and the US, tariffs have impacted Chinese exports; however, Chinese aluminum production reportedly rose in May despite those factors.
Mine production: 3.6 million MT
Russia was the second-largest aluminum producer in 2017, but its output was significantly lower than China’s. Last year, it produced 3.6 million MT of aluminum, up from 3.56 million MT in 2016. Leading global aluminum producer RUSAL is headquartered in Moscow, and is the world’s sixth-largest aluminum company. It was taken over in 2015 and is now part of China Hongqiao Group (HKEX:1378).
Mine production: 3.21 million MT
Third on this list of aluminum-producing countries is Canada. Last year, Canada’s aluminum production was 3.21 million MT, the same amount it produced in 2016. Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO,ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO), another leading global aluminum producer, has roughly 16 operations in the country.
The US Geological Survey states that Canada was once again the leading supplier of imported aluminum for the US in 2017, accounting for 56 percent.
Mine production 3.2 million MT
Aluminum production in India grew a fair amount in 2017. Last year, production totaled 3.2 million MT compared to 2.72 million MT in 2016. On the demand side, aluminum use in the country declined by 50 percent in 2016, but demand has reportedly been picking up since then, especially for scrap metal.
Hindalco Industries (NSE:HINDALCO), the world’s largest aluminum rolling company, is located in Mumbai and is said to be among the largest producers of primary aluminum in Asia. According to Business Standard, Indian exports of aluminum have risen 36 percent between 2017 and 2018.
5. United Arab Emirates
Mine production: 2.6 million MT
Fifth on this list of aluminum-producing countries is the United Arab Emirates. Aluminum production in the United Arab Emirates grew slightly from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, the country’s output was 2.6 million MT of aluminum, up from 2.5 million MT the year before and a new record for the country.
Emirates Global Aluminium is the largest aluminum producer in the Middle East. The company reported a 59-percent increase in profit in 2017. Last year, production at Emirates Global Aluminium was on the rise, hitting a record of 2.6 million MT.
Mine production: 1.49 million MT
Australia’s aluminum production fell slightly last year, declining to 1.49 million MT in 2017 from 1.63 million MT in 2016.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Rio Tinto, which produces aluminum in Australia, made cuts to output and jobs at its Boyne aluminum smelter due to rising power costs.
Power costs at Boyne had reportedly doubled compared with 2014. In total, the smelter anticipates a reduction in production of about 45,000 MT this year, or about 8 percent.
Mine production: 1.22 million MT
Next on this list of aluminum-producing countries is Norway. Aluminum production in Norway remained the same from 2016 to 2017. In both years, the country produced 1.22 million MT of the metal. Norsk Hydro (OTCMKTS:NHYDY), a Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company, has a number of plants in the country, as well as in Germany and Brazil.
8. United States
Mine production: 740,000 MT
Rounding out the list is the US, whose aluminum production has taken a hit the past few years. Last year, the country produced just 740,000 MT of the metal, down from 841,000 MT in 2016 and 1.587 million MT in 2015. According to the US Geological Survey, this is the lowest production output since 1951.
Meanwhile, US imports were up for the fifth consecutive year in a row in 2017, totaling 6.3 million MT. Aluminum exports from the US were down to 1.3 million MT compared to 1.46 million MT in 2016.
The US Geological Survey also notes that the US International Trade Commission launched an investigation on the global aluminum industry and its impact on US producers, the results of which came out in mid-2017. In addition to this report was an investigation by the secretary of commerce on the impact of aluminum imports on US national security. That report can be found here.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.