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Aluminium production down in Germany

Metal cans

Metal cansGerman aluminium producers and processors reported slight declines during the period January to September 2012, according to German-based trade association Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA).

The GDA represents the interests of the aluminium industry in Germany and reports that almost all areas were affected by this development.

The weak general economic situation and the high level of production in the previous year were again the reasons for the downturn. The sector is not expecting any improvement in the final quarter of the year.

In Germany, 790,854 tonnes of raw aluminium were produced during the period January to September 2012. Production fell 1.5% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. It comprised 305,992 tonnes of primary aluminium and 484,862 tonnes of secondary aluminium. Year-on-year, production of primary aluminium fell 5.6%, while production of secondary aluminium rose 1.6%.

“In the third quarter of 2012, German production of raw aluminium was almost at the same level as in the previous quarter. The situation stabilised in the autumn,” explains GDA executive director Christian Wellner.

The production of aluminium semis in the first three quarters of 2012 totalled 1.861 million tonnes. This represented a decline of 1.7% compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. By contrast, semis production rose again in September, up 1.5%. The companies in this sector produce rolled products, extrusions, wire and forgings. Quantitatively, semis production is the German aluminium industry’s most important sector.

During the period January to September 2012, a total of 263,153 tonnes of aluminium was subjected to further processing in Germany. The production volume was down 5.7% year-on-year. Further processing is divided into three sectors: foil and thin strip, tube, cans and impact extrusions, and metal powder. While the production of foil and thin strip fell 6.5%, the declines for tube, cans and impact extrusions (down 4.3%) and the production of metal powder (down 4.5%) were lower.

“So far, the German aluminium industry has successfully withstood competition from elsewhere in Europe,” says Andreas Postler, head of economics and statistics at GDA. “It has worked hard in recent years to achieve this and the companies have been able to increase their share of European production significantly in many areas.

“However, given the weakness of European export markets and continuing uncertainty due to the European debt crisis, companies are becoming increasingly concerned about future economic developments. The export of aluminium and the goods produced from it has already declined significantly. So far, however, traders have been more affected than producers.”

Wellner added: “We continue to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the German aluminium industry. In recent years, companies have become flexible when it comes to production and they are capable of reacting to declines in demand. For the fourth quarter, there is no fundamental improvement in sight but the economic situation in Germany remains positive.”

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