Press Metal, Alcom up amid world's largest alumina refinery shutdown

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 4): Bursa Malaysia's aluminium-related counters such as Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd and Alcom Group Bhd gained amid supply worries as closure of the world's largest alumina refinery run by Norsk Hydro in Brazil pushed aluminium prices up to their highest in about three months.

At Bursa Malaysia, Alcom gained six sen to 64 sen at 10:29am. At 10:45am, Press Metal rose 16 sen to RM5.12 among top gainers.

Reuters reported that 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.

It was reported that three-month aluminium on the London Metal Exchange was up 1% at US$2,228 a tonne by 0215 GMT, after earlier hitting US$2,246, the highest since June 15. The metal surged 4.2% overnight, its largest single-day gain since April.

Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau was quoted as saying 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," Lau said.