Aluminum Advances to Highest Since December Amid Supply Concern

Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm ET

April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Aluminum prices rose to the highest this year on concern that global supplies will be limited. Copper climbed to a three-week high after an earthquake struck Chile, the world’s top producer.

In Brazil, aluminum companies producing at the lowest level in 12 years expect authorities to ration power supplies as a drought curbs hydroelectric generation, and Alcoa Inc. said it will cut output at two smelters. Russia’s United Co. Rusal, the biggest producer, said its output would fall to the lowest in at least eight years.

“The supply situation is definitely pushing prices higher,” Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview.

On the London Metal Exchange, aluminum for delivery in three months rose 1.9 percent to settle at $1,829.50 a metric ton at 5:52 p.m. Earlier, the price reached $1,830, the highest since Dec. 30. The metal climbed for the fifth straight session, the longest rally since September 2012.

Aluminum closed above the 200-day moving average, a bullish signal for some analysts who study charts.

On the LME, copper rose 0.2 percent to $6,675 a ton ($3.03 a pound). Earlier, the price climbed as much as 1.1 percent to $6,734, the highest since March 10.

BHP Billiton Ltd. evacuated a port that handles ore from Chile’s Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, after the quake. Producers including Teck Resources Ltd. and Pan Pacific Copper Co. said their mines were unaffected.

Stockpiles in warehouses monitored by the LME, down for the fifth straight session, have dropped 29 percent this year.

Copper futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $3.0455 a pound on the Comex in New York.

Lead, zinc and nickel climbed in London, while tin was unchanged.