Alcoa Corp. sees the aluminum market swinging to a surplus, adding more gloom to a slumping commodity and giving more urgency to a cost-cutting drive after a fourth straight quarterly loss.
Alcoa projects a global aluminum supply will exceed demand by as much as 1 million metric tons in 2020, after a shortfall of between 900,000 tons to 1.1 million tons last year, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The top U.S. producer of the metal also reported a wider-than-expected adjusted loss for the fourth quarter.
The report comes as Pittsburgh-based Alcoa takes steps to stem a slide in profits by reducing costs and narrowing its focus to the company’s main metal businesses. The aluminum maker said in October it would sell non-core assets to generate as much as $1 billion in net proceeds. Investors have cheered the plan, sending the stock to its best quarterly performance since 2017 at the end of last year.
The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 31 cents a share, compared with a 21-cent average of analysts’ estimates. Aluminum prices have slumped as U.S.-China trade tensions hurt prospects for global manufacturing and economic growth.
Global demand growth will be in a range of 1.4% to 2.4% this year. The company’s final aluminum demand estimate for 2019 was a decline of 0.2% to 0.4%.
The earnings statement was released after the close of regular trading in New York, where Alcoa fell 2.4% at 6:08 p.m.