Submitted on December 20, 2021

CFD index went down, FPVV index went up, so no change to the overall index this month, as the period of relative stability continued. With storage lake levels sitting high for this time of year, low demand over the holiday period, and a weekend of prices mostly in the single digits, we can expect this to continue for at least two or three weeks.

But things can turn around quickly, so no one should let their guard down.

There was a healthy number of contracts traded over the last month, a sign perhaps of renewed activity spurred by lower prices. It's likely that some buyers, who did not want to be caught with high-priced hedges, held off buying until conditions improved, which they have. As a result, we could be seeing a return to the market by larger consumers and independent retailers.

Futures prices for 2025 remain higher than would be expected if the Tiwai smelter closes after its contract expires on 31st December 2024. This could be a sign the market believes Tiwai will stay, which is a big call given the volatility of aluminium prices and New Zealand's distance from key markets: Australia for alumina, Japan and beyond for sales.

But it's also possible the market's aggregate view is that Tiwai might close, but be replaced by new demand. In a presentation to investors by Meridian Energy, given back in August, Meridian stated that the "portfolio response to NZAS [smelter] exit is gaining traction."

Either way, we can only continue the seemingly interminable wait until the Tiwai situation is further developed, and price expectations adjusted as a result.