Aluminum rises as Alcoa to close smelter, Rusal cutting output

Aluminum climbed for a fifth time in six days after Alcoa Inc. said it will close a smelter and United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest producer of the metal, said it expects output to decline further this year.

The contract for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange added as much as 0.2 percent to $1,736.50 a metric ton and was at $1,735.50 by 10:38 a.m. in Tokyo. The industrial metal is up 1.7 percent this month. Copper was little changed at $7,164.50 a ton.

Alcoa is shutting its 50-year-old Point Henry smelter in Geelong, Australia, reducing the company’s global capacity by 190,000 tons to 3.7 million tons, the largest U.S. aluminum producer said yesterday in a statement. Combined with the closing of rolling mills in Victoria and New South Wales, it will result in the loss of about 1,000 jobs.

“Alcoa’s announcement gave a boost to aluminum,” said Hwang Il Doo, a senior trader at Korea Exchange Bank Futures Co. in Seoul. “The market may see further cuts by high-cost smelters.”

United Co. Rusal said its output may decline to 3.5 million tons in 2014 from 3.9 million tons in 2013. Production fell 8 percent last year as inefficient smelters in Russia were closed, the Moscow-based company said today in a statement.

Copper for March delivery on the Comex in New York rose 0.3 percent to $3.2735 a pound from the close on Feb. 14. The metal for delivery in April on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slid 0.3 percent to 50,900 yuan ($8,393) a ton.

On the LME, zinc declined, while nickel and tin were little changed. Lead hadn’t traded.