09 September 2012

Tiwai Point smelter troubles and 25 years of aluminium prices

The Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter has been in the news a lot lately. Mainly because owners New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited/Rio Tinto Alcan New Zealand Ltd, are hinting they may need to close the smelter unless they get a big discount on their electricity bill from Meridian Energy.

I thought I would prepare a chart of world aluminium prices. I found a good data source at Indexmundi.com and obtained an current price from the London Metals Exchange.

As ever, it looks crap in the Blogger interface. Double click in the image to see the chart in full 650 by 500 pixel glory.

How to prepare the chart.

I used the R programming language running with the RKward scripting progamme running on a Linux Simply Mepis 8.5 operating system installed on my Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop.

First the data. I downloaded the longest available time series of prices, back to 1987, from Indexmundi.com. I saved this as a comma-seperated values file in my 'R' working directory. I added to this .csv file the latest September aluminium price, US$1962 per metric tonne, from the London Metals Exchange website.

Here is the script. It may also be used with 'R' under Windows.

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