Guinea turmoil pushes aluminum to 10-year high

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LONDON — Aluminum prices rose on Monday after reports of a coup in Guinea triggered concerns that supply of bauxite, the raw material used to make the metal, could be interrupted.

Guinea produces about a quarter of the world’s bauxite, analysts said, though there is no sign yet of supply disruption.

A military spokesman on Monday said that the country had reopened its land and air borders a day after special forces soldiers said they had dissolved the government and constitution.

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Benchmark aluminum on the London Metal Exchange (LME) was up 1.6% at $2,769.50 a tonne at 1603 GMT after touching its highest since May 2011 at $2,782.

Prices in China for bauxite from Guinea, meanwhile, hit their highest in almost 18 months.

Aluminum prices have risen by about 40% this year.

The events in Guinea are “adding fuel to the fire, not least since the whole bullish narrative for aluminum is about tight supplies,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke, though he believes that the country’s new rulers are unlikely to disrupt an industry so important to the nation’s economy.

RUSAL: Russia’s Rusal said it aimed to keep its three major bauxite mines and one alumina refinery in Guinea operating.

SUPPLY: A prolonged period of high aluminum prices created partly by output cuts in China is expected to encourage new capacity elsewhere, eventually weighing on prices.

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RING: The LME’s open outcry ring hosts trading on Monday for the first time since March 2020. One dealer has dropped out, leaving eight ring-trading firms, with some expecting reduced volumes.

GERMANY: Industrial orders in Germany surged unexpectedly in July.

CHINA: Export growth in China is expected to have moderated in August amid port congestion caused by fresh COVID-19 cases, a Reuters poll showed.

MARKETS: Global shares are on their longest winning streak in three months.

CHILE: Minera Lumina Copper said it had reached a deal with workers at its Caserones mine in Chile, ending an almost month-long strike.

METALS PRICES: Benchmark LME copper was up 0.3% at $9,455.50 a tonne, zinc rose 0.6% to $3,014, nickel fell 0.7% to $19,655, lead slipped 1.7% to $2,271 and tin was down 0.8% at $32,800.

(Reporting by Peter Hobson Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in Hanoi Editing by David Goodman and Louise Heavens)