Middle East aluminium producers are considering joining international producers in cutting production to boost depleted prices as the world’s major producing countries are finalising a production cut agreement at a meeting in Ottawa in early March.

In a shift from its declared policy not to participate, the region’s largest producer, Bahrain, is now discussing a possible output cut with other producers, including Egypt and Dubai. ‘We started seeing what is being done is more successful than we thought at the beginning,’ Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) chief executive Gudvin Tofte says. Dubai Aluminium Company has not reached a decision yet and is closely following the Ottawa meeting. However, it may have problems reducing output because it has sold all its planned 1994 production already, a senior company official says.

In Ottawa, aluminium producers including Russia, the US, Norway, the EU, Canada and Australia were to finalise the draft agreement they drew up in Brussels on 30 January. This involves bringing production down by 1.5 million-2 million tonnes a year from the present 18 million tonnes. Cuts made after the draft agreement have already raised the tonne price to about $1,310 from $1,230 in late January.