Inc. expects global aluminum demand to increase 7 percent in
2013 despite concerns about overcapacity in China hindering the
ability of Western countries to reduce an aluminum supply
aluminum producer expects aluminum demand in China to rise 11
percent in 2013, Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer
Klaus Kleinfeld said during an earnings call July 8.
At the same time,
China is also moving to cut capacity at high-cost smelters on
its east coast while slowing the addition of new capacity in
the west, he said. "In total, the capacity that we see in China
is pretty stable."
The Chinese aluminum
industry plays in a "different universe" than the aluminum
industry elsewhere, Kleinfeld said. "Lets call it
earth aluminum and China
aluminumand they rarely communicate ... because
(Chinese aluminum producers) are high cost and they are not
going to export," he said, estimating that more than 40 percent
of Chinese smelters are "under water."
In addition, "China
Inc." is increasingly wary of adding new aluminum capacity
because of the energy, water and imported alumina necessary to
support it, in addition to the pollution any new plant might
generate, Kleinfeld said. Thus, boosting aluminum capacity
might be seen as not having the potential economic benefits
necessary to offset those costs, he added.
"So I am pretty
confident that we will continue to see restructuring going
onand probably in an accelerated fashion under the new
leadership," Kleinfeld said, referring to the administration of
new Chinese president Xi Jinping.