Rusal drops to a loss on weak metal outlook

ALUMINIUM producer Rusal made a net loss of $118m (£74.3m) over the three months to September, against a profit of $432m a year earlier, as it eyed a rebound in consumption of the metal in the fourth quarter.

Revenue came in at $2.56bn during the quarter, down from $3.16bn over the same period in 2011, the firm said yesterday.

Aluminium production for Rusal was flat at 1.042m tonnes for the third quarter, compared to 1.041m tonnes a year ago.

Tepid demand for the metal – used in drink cans, aircraft and electronics equipment – has pushed prices down 19 per cent during the first nine months of 2012 to an average of $2,025 a tonne.

Global aluminium consumption during the nine months to September hit 35.5m tonnes, a five per cent increase on the previous year, although Rusal said global demand moderated in the quarter.

A rebound in Chinese growth, a “resilient” US automotive sector and worldwide monetary stimulus should drive consumption of the base metal, Rusal said.

Chief executive Oleg Deripaska said yesterday that while the short-term outlook for the aluminium sector remained “uncertain”, the steps taken to address oversupply alongside growing demand from the US and emerging markets “enables Rusal to remain confident in its current strategy and the outlook for the wider sector”.