2015-11-10 03:31:13 UTC
of the iconic American industry.
For 127 years, the New York-based company has been churning out
the lightweight metal used in everything from beverage cans to
airplanes, once making it a symbol of U.S. industrial might.
Now, with prices languishing near six-year lows, its wiping out
almost a third of domestic operating capacity, Harbor
Intelligence estimates. If prices dont recover, the researcher
predicts almost all U.S. smelting plants will close by next year.
While thats a big deal for the U.S. industry and the people it
employs, it doesnt mean much for global supplies. Alcoas
decision to eliminate 503,000 metric tons of smelting capacity
accounts for about 31 percent of the U.S. total for primary
aluminum, but less than one percent of the global total,
according to Harbor. For more than a decade, output has been
moving to where its cheaper to produce: Russia, the Middle East
and China. A global glut has driven prices down by 27 percent in
the past year, rendering American operations unprofitable and
accelerating the pace of the industrys demise.