MANILA, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Aluminium prices rose to a more than three-month high on Thursday, stretching a rally to a fifth session, amid worries the closure of the world’s largest alumina refinery in Brazil will lead to a shortage of the raw material. Norsk Hydro said on Wednesday that it would halt production indefinitely and lay off 4,700 people at Brazil’s Alunorte refinery, which has been operating at half capacity since March due to an environmental dispute. Three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was up 1 percent at $2,228 a tonne by 0215 GMT, after earlier hitting $2,246, the highest since June 15. The metal surged 4.2 percent overnight, its largest single-day gain since April. Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau said the shutdown of the Alunorte plant “will worsen the global supply tightness as production resumption by refineries elsewhere will take time to fill the void.” “Therefore we expect alumina prices to rise further.” The global price of alumina has increased nearly 13 percent this year to $460 a tonne. LME aluminium is down 1.8 percent year to date.
* ALUNORTE: Norsk Hydro’s decision also triggered a shutdown of its Paragominas bauxite mine, which supplies Alunorte, and will lead to the imminent closure of the nearby Albras aluminium smelter.
* OTHER METALS: Copper climbed 0.6 percent to $6,304.50 a tonne and zinc added 0.6 percent to $2,666.50. China’s markets remain shut for the week-long National Day holiday.
* CHINA COPPER DEMAND: China’s overseas expansion will spread over land that is home to more than half the world’s population, potentially boosting copper use by 1.6 million tonnes, or roughly 7 percent of annual demand, said major miner BHP .
* NICKEL DEMAND: Global demand for nickel is expected to increase to 2.42 million tonnes in 2019 versus a projection of 2.35 million tonnes in 2018, the International Nickel Study Group said.
* DOLLAR: The dollar reached an 11-month high against the yen and stood tall against other peers, boosted by upbeat U.S. economic data and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.