Australia’s aluminium, alumina and bauxite export volume could drop by 20pc to $8.89bn (AUD 13bn) in 2020- 21, and by 2.8pc to $8.2bn (AUD 12bn) in 2021-22, according to a revised forecast by the Resources and Energy Quarterly of Australia.
The previous forecast was published in March 2020. The downward revision is due to the subdued price of aluminium, alumina and bauxite price outlook.
The forecast for the LME aluminium spot price has been revised, down by 3.3pc per cent (or $56/mt) in 2020. The FOB Australian alumina prices have been revised, down by 16pc (or $50/mt), from the March 2020 figures.
The revision reflects a sharp fall in aluminium and alumina prices in the first half of 2020. This downward forecast is due to lower Australian aluminium export volumes which were partially offset by higher exports of alumina and bauxite.
Subdued aluminium and alumina prices had a negative impact on Australia’s aluminium and bauxite export in June quarter 2020. The export value declined by 19pc to $2 bn from the prior-year period.
Exports declined by 16pc to $2bn in the March quarter 2020 from the prior-year period. Till June 2020, the export value of aluminium and alumina declined to $8.89bn in 2019-2020, down by 20pc from the prior-year period.
Despite improvement forecast for aluminium and alumina prices, the country’s export earnings are forecast to drop by 2.8pc in 2020-2021 and 0.7pc in 2021-2022 driven by a decline in bauxite export volumes.
The bauxite export volumes are forecast to drop at an average annual rate of 7.2pc to 34mn mt by 2021-2022 driven by the rise of Guinea as a producer and bauxite exporter. Guinea has overtaken Australia as China’s largest bauxite supplier.
The report said that in the last few years, Chinese and European companies have invested in Guinea to ramp up bauxite production.
Australia’s aluminium production is forecast to remain at around 1.6mn mt a year out to 2021–22 Australia’s alumina production is expected at 20mn mt over the outlook period.
Australia’s bauxite production is forecast at 105mn mt year out to 2021–22. The report mentioned that in June 2020, Alcoa Australia has applied to Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (WA EPA) to increase its annual alumina production capacity at its Pinjarra refinery from 5 to 5.25mn mt.
The company has also applied to the WA EPA to increase bauxite production at its Huntly mine to 26mn mt.
($1= AUD 1.46)