Date: May 02 2012
Alumina says pricing and demand will remain subdued in 2012, as the high Australian dollar continues to put the company under pressure.
Addressing shareholders at Alumina's annual general meeting in Melbourne, chief executive John Bevan spoke cautiously about the short-term outlook.
"2012 has started with weak pricing and an uncertain market, due to the macroeconomic outlook for Europe," he said.
Aluminium demand growth looks to be up by five to seven per cent in 2012 due mainly to China, but slower than in 2011, he said.
"Pricing is likely to remain subdued until sufficient alumina curtailments are implemented," Mr Bevan said.
In early trade, Alumina shares were up 0.2 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $1.14.
Alumina is a joint venture partner with Alcoa in the Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) company.
The company's costs have risen significantly because of the strength of the Australian dollar.
That was a main reason for a review of AWAC's Point Henry smelter at Geelong in Victoria, which continues and is expected to conclude in June, Mr Bevan said.
He also said the carbon pricing policy set to begin on July 1 will have limited impact on Alumina.
"The result of the legislation is that both the AWAC refineries, and smelters, will receive 94.5 per cent issuance of free permits in the first year," Mr Bevan said.
"So in the beginning, the impact is very limited."
The impact of an emissions trading scheme, which will come into effect in several years, was hard to forecast, he added.
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