October 18, 2017 | by Steve Lawrence

A Changing World Order

As the U.S. retrenches, two unpredictable superpowers emerge.

At this year’s Aluminum Products Division Conference, top international consultant, Anja Manuel, will describe “the profound impact” on domestic and international aluminum and steel as the world changes.

Her business partners are former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Her clients are Fortune 50 companies across the world.

Anja Manuel will highlight the second day of this year’s Aluminum Products Division Conference, Nov. 12–14 at the elegant Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We’ve got a really complicated world these days,” she said in a pre-conference interview. “Things change daily as the U.S. and Europe are in a defensive crouch. We will need to work on shoring up our own domestic system if we are going to lead internationally again.

“Hopefully this whole lot of upheaval in the White House will calm down if the president listens to the calmer voices he has around him,” she said. “Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but also Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Chief Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. With these guys in place, the administration may be able to move toward something that looks more like a traditional Republican posture.”

Still, she admits this is hardly guaranteed, “since we are facing a world that becomes more complex by the day,” she said. “These two new superpowers, China and India will have a profound impact on everyone in this country doing business in steel and aluminum. Even though the Chinese military budget is increasing by more than 10 percent a year and heading for a navy of more than 300 subs and ships, the country’s huge commercial building program that has been propping up the world’s aluminum and steel supply is ending.

“And yet the indications are mixed on China’s efforts on cutting excess capacity,” she said. “They have cut supplies a tiny little bit, but nowhere near enough to get the market back to its height, and there is no indication that they will.

“At the same time we have India, which may be far more chaotic at this point, still growing at 7.5 percent a year and beginning its own huge push on infrastructure,” she said. “More infrastructure in India is certainly good for world prices, but at the same time Indian manufacturing is getting more efficient and better at what it is doing and the administration is urging a ‘buy domestic’ program.”

Manuel brings a uniquely global perspective to her analysis of each of these superpowers and how their domestic and international policies will affect aluminum for the foreseeable future. She is just one of the impressive lineup of speakers that you will hear at this year’s Aluminum sessions as we continue our commitment to offering you the kind of invaluable, business building information you will not get anywhere else.

To learn more about MSCI's Aluminum Products Division Conference, click here.