Emerging markets filling the production gap
Price doesn't expect China's shifting economic focus to dull aluminium's global appeal.
The metal remains a key component in many products including motor vehicles, machinery, electrical goods and packaging, so it will still be needed in large quantities.
For example, the world's largest aluminium producer - China Hongqiao Group - now makes aluminium in Indonesia and Africa. China’s other aluminium giant, Chalco, has operations in Peru.
“The materials-intensive growth path that China took is probably still the least risky path to industrialisation for emerging economies," says Price.
"China is now engaging other countries, investing directly in their industrial bases and urbanization growth stories, in much the same way Britain did in Victorian times and the US did across Asia and the Americas after the Second World War."
By taking on this role as a type of global industrial ‘consultant’, developing operations elsewhere, China's aluminium producers may be able to avoid the worst fallout of any trade war with the US. However, Price believes that even if the trade war intensifies it poses no long-term threat to the aluminium outlook.
“The US is an important consumer of aluminium and doesn't have the capacity to meet its own demand," he says. "It needs to get aluminium from somewhere."