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Steady growth anticipated for aluminium

Europe – From primary to recycling, total demand for aluminium is increasing by an average of 2% each year, according to figures from European Aluminium and official trade data released at the 2016 aluminium trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany.

‘Our forecasts for 2016 and 2017 show steady growth in both production and demand across the aluminium value chain in Europe,’ commented European Aluminium’s director general Gerd Götz. ‘Clearly aluminium is the preferred material for applications with strategic value for a sustainable economy, such as transport, packaging and buildings.’

Primary aluminium production has rallied in Europe. European Aluminium is forecasting positive growth rates of 1.1% for 2016 and 1.3% for 2017 despite the global challenge of significant overcapacity in countries such as China.

Furthermore, the recycling sector is continuing to flourish. Total recycling production in Europe has grown by around 5% per annum for several years. However, access to secondary raw material is still claimed to be an issue: in 2015, around 860 000 tonnes of aluminium scrap was exported from the EU to third countries (mainly in Asia), it is pointed out.

‘These growth rates reflect a need for a lightweight and durable material such as aluminium,’ said Götz. ‘This need is particularly visible in transport, where aluminium demand will increase by 6% in 2016 for the second year in a row. Low-carbon mobility is absolutely essential to Europe’s strategy for a sustainable economy and aluminium is part of the solution.’

Among the ‘significant challenges’ facing the sector, he pointed to Chinese overproduction exerting ‘downward pressure’ on prices and putting the value chain ‘at risk’.

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