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Rusal: Aluminum market 'finding balance'

The aluminum market will find an "equilibrium" this year after years of oversupply as Chinese producers cut back on production, according to the deputy chief executive of Rusal.

"We are actually carefully optimistic. We think that currently aluminum market is trying to find a balance. As you know, it was heavily oversupplied for several years in a row and finally this year we think it might be an equilibrium found," Oleg Mukhamedshin, deputy CEO of Rusal, told CNBC in a TV interview.

China started to cut production in the last three months of 2015, he said, and it is hoped the decline in supply will feed through to prices.

"What is good is news coming from China, you know, the overall supply is very much influencing the price and we can see in the fourth quarter (the) Chinese started to cut down production," Mukhamedshin told CNBC on Thursday.

China is the world's largest producer of aluminum and other metals. Many of its metals companies held production steady, even as industrial demand declined in the country. However, Reuters reported in January that Beijing looked set to announce financing deals with Chinese metal producers for stockpiling and capacity cutback initiatives.

Antaike, a state-backed Chinese firm providing information on the metals industry, reported last week that aluminum refineries in China were continuing to reduce output.

Rusal reported that its aluminum production totaled 3.603 million tons in 2015, remaining flat year-on-year. Production in the fourth quarter fell 4 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Aluminum sales reached 3.638 million tons last year, up 3.2 percent on 2014. However, sales fell in the last three months of the year, quarter-on-quarter, by 6.7 percent, lagging production.

Rusal's average realized price in 2015 was $2,001 per ton, down 9.8 percent on the previous year.

Aluminum is the most extensively used non-ferrous metal in the world, according to the London Metal Exchange, and is used in a variety of products ranging from window frames to car body panels, wiring and kitchen utensils.

"I think there is no doubt in the industry — and this is the consensus — that consumption of aluminum is still quite healthy," Mukhamedshin told CNBC.

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