Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) could cut volumes sold in the Middle Eastern market to free up tonnages for the North American market, Tim Murray, the company’s ceo, said at Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s Aluminium Summit in New York.

“To sell more in North America, we will have to take a little from the Middle East,” Murray told delegates.

Alba sells about 70% of its production in the Middle East, with about 16% going into Asian markets and just over 10% in Europe. The remainder goes to North America and Alba does not have available units to boost that figure.

New production in the Middle East, particularly from the Ma’aden smelter in Saudi Arabia, will allow Alba to free up some local units and increase its sales into USA, where premiums make it the most attractive market for sellers.

“Ma’aden will relieve some pressure so we can go to North America a little more,” Murray said. “North America offers the best premium net-back.”

Murray sees a strong market for aluminium, with high demand across the globe.

“The media is very negative on economies but look at the physical demand for metals,” he said. “The Middle East is booming, North America is very strong, in Europe the autos market is very strong, and in Asia growth is at 7% per year,” he pointed.

Jethro Wookey
Twitter: @jethrowookey_mb