COMMENT: Is aluminum ready for opportunities and challenges?

Apr 30, 2011 | 07:00 PM | John Ambrosia

Tags  John Ambrosia

It’s good to be king, they say. But short of that, it’s not too bad being in the aluminum business right now.

As a number of articles in this month’s issue attest, alumina suppliers, mills, service centers and others in the industry are facing opportunities for greater profits as well as developments in new manufacturing processes and new ways of ordering pricing for raw materials.

Just two years ago you couldn’t say the same. The economy was dragging down all the sectors that aluminum products rely on, there was overcapacity—creating an oversupply of product—and earnings were not matching previous years.

But starting in 2010, and continuing into this year, the environment changed dramatically. Now companies are in much better shape, and everyone is cautiously, or even joyously, optimistic about the near-term. Consider the following:

• What was up until summer 2010 an oversupply of material has turned into a balance.

• The automobile industry has rebounded and demand has been increasing.....

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