Central Asia’s largest aluminium smelter, Tajikistan Aluminium Co. (TALCO), cut production by 47 percent in year-on-year terms in January-June to 61,100 tonnes due to low demand for the metal, a senior Tajik official said. “Lower aluminium output is caused by objective reasons which are partly linked to falling world prices for the metal,” Industry Minister Shavkat Bobozoda told a news conference.
The sharp drop in output in the first half means that TALCO’s production this year may turn out to be lower than its own pessimistic forecast made at the beginning of 2014. TALCO said in February it expected aluminium production to shrink by 30.7 percent to 150,000 tonnes this year. Hit hard by low aluminium prices, TALCO was forced to reduce output by 20.6 percent to 216,369 tonnes in 2013.
The smelter is the largest industrial enterprise and the biggest foreign currency earner for the mountainous nation of 8 million, which is the poorest ex-Soviet nation. Aluminium sales tumbled by 49.6 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2014 to $109.2 million. Official data show Tajik aluminium exports have declined for 35 months in a row. Hit by aluminium output collapse, Tajikistan’s industrial output growth slowed to 2.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2014 from a 6.6 percent rise in the same period of last year, official statistics show.