SECONDARY AL CONF: Market participants head to Amsterdam for clarity in volatile market

Secondary aluminium market participants from around the world will be heading to Amsterdam from November 6-8 to attend Fastmarkets MB’s 26th Secondary Aluminium Conference for insight on the 2019 market and to negotiate annual deals.

The conference comes at a time where macroeconomic issues have had massive influence on global aluminium markets. Participants are determining how the United States’ sanctions on Rusal will unfold in the coming months, how the US trade war on China will affect the scrap market next year and whether European automotive demand will pick up after the introduction of new EU emission testing policies.

All of those issues have led to a volatile market in the past year, market participants told Fastmarkets MB.

In Europe, Fastmarkets MB’s assessment of the secondary aluminium 226 diecasting ingot, free market Europe, delivered duty paid, price hit its highest level of 2018 at €1,850-1,910 ($2,129.13-2,198.18) per tonne on Friday April 20 following US sanctions on Rusal, with market participants concerned about metal supply at the time.

Since then, however, prices have fallen to a two year low, with Fastmarkets MB last assessing the price of aluminium 226 diecasting ingots at €1,500-1,550 per tonne on October 19, stable with the previous week’s assessment.

“The market is stabilizing. But is it only a momentary stop or has it found the floor? It’s important to start looking,” the first producer said.

The US trade war with China, which has left aluminium scrap overhang in Europe and other markets, as well as a decline of automotive demand in Europe due to new EU emissions testing policies have pushed the price to new lows.

“We have a bottleneck from [EU automotive emissions testing], problems between the US and China and the economic situation with Turkey. There’s also uncertainty from Rusal. I hope to find out more about these things,” a secondary aluminium producer said.

At 9:30am CEST on Wednesday November 7, the executive industry panel will provide insights on these issues and how the market might unfold in 2019.

Directors from EMR, Constellium and Novelis will chair an executive industry panel about market demand, trade wars, environmental legislation and how these issues might affect the market.

At 11am CEST, there will be a presentation on the primary aluminium market from Christine Frogner Brath, director and analyst at Norsk Hydro.

Then at 12pm CEST, Kevin Moore from All Raw Materials Consulting and AJ Metals Processing and Glorem SC president Alejandro Jaramillo will have presentations on analyzing market fundamentals.

There will also be panels on how the secondary aluminium market has been affected by the rise of electric vehicles as well as sorting technologies at the end of day one.

On day two, there will be panels that focus on recycling technologies and future challenges and opportunities in packaging.

Though next year’s outlook remains unclear, participants hope to gain more clarity by attending panels and meeting other participants throughout the week.

“The market is stabilizing. But is it only a momentary stop or has it found the floor? It’s important to start looking,” the second producer said.