United Company RusAl said its smelters can turn a profit should aluminum prices fall to $1,900 a ton, while as much as 45 percent of Chinese capacity may already be running at a loss.
"It's difficult, but it can work," Vladislav Solovyov, first deputy chief executive, said in an interview published on RusAl's Facebook page. "If it goes lower, well then we may see cutbacks." Some of RusAl's smelters are viable with an aluminum price as low as $1,400, he said.
Aluminum traded at $2,193 a ton on the London Metals Exchange on Thursday. The metal has advanced 7 percent since Jan. 1 after falling about 27 percent last year from its May 3 peak of $2,797. China should shut more capacity, Solovyov said, and help drive prices higher.