Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, may have its credit rating cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. after the price of the metal slumped.
The ratings company said Tuesday in a statement that it placed Alcoa's Baa3 senior unsecured rating, the lowest investment-grade level, under review for downgrade.
The review “reflects the challenging headwinds” facing New York-based Alcoa, Moody’s said. The recovery in the aluminum industry is “slow and uneven” and the price of metal will remain at 85 to 95 cents a pound for the next several quarters, it said.
“We do not see a material, sustainable improvement in aluminum prices over the next several quarters and expect Alcoa’s earnings performance and debt protection metrics to remain challenged,” Moody’s said.
Alcoa cut its global aluminum consumption forecast in October because of a slowdown in demand in China, the world’s largest user of the metal. Aluminum prices on the London Metal Exchange have averaged $2,051 this year, 15 percent lower than last year.
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