July 27, 2020 / 8:25 AM / 9 days ago

Russia's Rusal Q2 sales down 10% as coronavirus hit demand

MOSCOW, July 27 (Reuters) - Russian aluminium producer Rusal on Monday reported a 10% fall in its second quarter aluminium sales compared with a year ago as the new coronavirus outbreak hit demand for its metal.

Hong-Kong listed Rusal, the world's largest aluminium producer outside China, managed to boost sales to China and is relatively optimistic about its prospects for July-December if coronavirus infects do not spike.

Aluminium sales totalled 976,000 tonnes in April-June 2020, down from 1.08 million tonnes in the same period of 2019, the company said.

Average aluminium price fell by 10.4% to $1,756 per tonne in the first half of 2020, it added.

Rusal's financial results for the first-half of 2020, due to be released on August 13, may be one of the weakest in the company's history due to low aluminium prices and despite dividends it received from mining giant Norilsk Nickel , in which it owns a stake, analysts at VTB Capital said in a note on Monday.

VTB Capital expects Rusal's January-June core earnings - EBITDA - to decline by 57% year on year to $228 million.

"Although a potential second wave of COVID-19 continues to cause some uncertainty in the market, most countries are more optimistic towards the second half of 2020," Rusal said.

In the first half of 2020, the global primary aluminium demand fell by 6.6% year-on-year to 30.3 million tonnes, while global production grew by 1.8% to 32.1 million tonnes, it added. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens)

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