CRU: Jobs climb ahead of Fed meeting, Moody's upgrades Norsk Hydro, and more

Written by Guillaume Osouf

The LME 3-month price is moving lower again on the morning of June 10 and was last seen trading at $2,570/t.

Last Friday’s non-farm payrolls showed the U.S. reached 272,000 new jobs in May, suggesting the economy was still fairly strong and reducing the chances the Fed will cut interest rates soon.

The unemployment rate, however, rose to 4% from 3.9% – the first time it has hit this mark since January 2022.

Investors will now pay close attention to a busy economic calendar on Wednesday, with the May CPI report followed by the conclusion of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting. This means investors will not have to wait long for Fed Chair Jerome Powell to provide his thoughts on the May inflation data.

SHFE was closed today due to the Dragon Boat festival. Trading will resume on Tuesday.

EGA signs term sheet with Guinea for development of an alumina refinery

EGA’s subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation has signed a term sheet with the government of Guinea for the development of an alumina refinery, it was announced on Saturday.

The alumina refinery project is expected to be built on GAC’s concession near Tinguilinta in Boké province, with an initial production capacity of 1 mt alumina per year. The government of Guinea will have a shareholding in 15% in GAC to strengthen the partnership between GAC and the government. This shareholding will convert into a 10% share of the mining operation and a 7.5% share of the alumina refinery company when alumina production begins. The government will also have the right to two positions on GAC’s board, including the chair.

Last week, EGA signed a framework agreement with Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd in Beijing, progressing cooperation between the two companies on the project. GAC employs some 3,200 people on its sites in Boké province as employees and contractors. In 2023, GAC spent approximately $283 M in Guinea in local procurement, payments to governments, and social contributions.

Aluminerie Alouette selected for power access by Quebec’s government

The government of Quebec has recently unveiled a list of 11 companies whose projects have been selected to obtain a connection with five megawatts worth of power or more. For aluminum, the selected company is the Alouette smelter located in Sept-Îles. Other sectors include steel, battery metal, bio energies, chemistry, etc. These projects will help to continue Quebec’s energy transition, the statement said, and accelerate the development of strategic sectors for the Quebec economy.

These projects (the connection of which is subject to the conclusion of a detailed agreement between Hydro-Québec and the various promoters) were selected from among all the connection requests received, and had a high level of probability of completion.

Over the coming weeks, Hydro-Québec will communicate with representatives of the selected projects in order to agree on the precise parameters and conditions of connection to the network.

“To continue to decarbonize our economy in a context of tightening energy balances, we must judiciously choose the most promising projects and allocate our available electricity in a responsible and sustainable manner. This second selection of projects will accelerate our energy transition, while strengthening our strategic sectors,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region.

Mercury Energy to expand Kaiwera Downs wind farm after agreement with New Zealand Aluminum Smelter

Local energy company Mercury NZ said it will go ahead with the Kaiwera Downs wind farm expansion near Gore, following a long-term agreement signed with New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS).

The 155 MW Kaiwera Downs project will generate enough electricity (525 GWh annually) to power the equivalent of about 73,000 homes a year according to local media, with the windfarm’s total capacity around 198 MW – the second largest in New Zealand.

Construction is expected to start in this month and reach full generation by the end of 2026.

“We’re excited to start another project that will help Aotearoa New Zealand move to a lower-carbon future,” said Mercury’s portfolio executive general manager Phil Gibson.

JW Aluminum receives ASI certification

JW Aluminum, a Goose Creek, South Carolina-based producer of flat-rolled aluminum products, has achieved Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) Performance Standard Certification across its entire operations. The company declared its South Carolina and Arkansas plants were the first continuous cast rolling facilities in the U.S. to be certified to ASI’s latest Version 3.0 standard.

To be certified, JW Aluminum underwent third-party audits to assess its adherence to the ASI Performance Standard’s environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) requirements and practices. ASI’s Performance Standard V3 defines principles and criteria for sustainability factors like production and sourcing, including greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, material stewardship, human rights and more.

Moody’s upgrades rating of Norsk Hydro ASA to Baa2 with stable outlook

On June 7, Moody’s Ratings has upgraded the long-term issuer rating of Norsk Hydro ASA to Baa2 from Baa3.

Concurrently, Moody’s has upgraded the Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) to Baa2 from Baa3, and the ratings of the EUR500 million and EUR300 million senior unsecured bonds due in 2025 and 2029, to Baa2 from Baa3. The outlook has changed to stable from positive.

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