The German aluminium industry increased its production of raw aluminium and shaped aluminium castings in the first half of 2015. Against this, there was a slight decline in the production of semis and in downstream processing. However, volumes are expected to show an upward trend in the second half of the year.
Production increase expected during rest of year
The German aluminium industry increased its production of raw aluminium and shaped aluminium castings in the first half of 2015. Against this, there was a slight decline in the production of semis and in downstream processing. However, as GDA points out in its report on business activity for the first half of 2015, volumes are expected to show an upward trend in the second half of the year.
Production of raw aluminium increases
Some 583,499 tonnes of raw aluminium were produced in Germany during the period January to June 2015. The level of production was thus 3.1 per cent higher than the corresponding period a year earlier. Production comprised 267,774 tonnes of primary aluminium and 315,725 tonnes of recycled aluminium. This meant production of primary aluminium was 3.8 per cent higher year-on-year, with production of recycled aluminium rising 2.5 per cent during the same period. “Production of primary aluminium was thus at its highest level since the last financial crisis and thus remains an important part of the value created by the aluminium industry in Germany,” was how GDA’s executive director Christian Wellner explained the development of aluminium production.
Slight decline in semis production
The production of aluminium semis totalled 1,270,339 tonnes in the first half of 2015. This represented a decline of 1.8 per cent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. Semis production was at an all-time high last year. The companies in this sector manufacture rolled products, extrusions, wire and conductor material. In terms of quantity, the production of aluminium semi-finished products is the most important sector of the German aluminium industry.
In addition to the automotive sector and the building and construction industry the largest markets for aluminium semis are packaging and mechanical and electrical engineering. Rolling mills account for the largest share of German aluminium semis production. Manufacture of rolled products during the period January to June 2015 totalled 965,198 tonnes. This represented a decline of 2.7 per cent year-on-year.
The producers of aluminium extrusions reported better figures. Their production rose 1.0 per cent during the same period to 294.450 tonnes. The most important markets for aluminium extrusions are building and construction, the transport sector and industrial applications. The production of wire and conductor material fell 2.4 per cent to 10,691 tonnes.
Aluminium castings show marked increase
Total production of aluminium castings during the period January to May 2015 was some 438,015 tonnes. This represented a rise 5.0 per cent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier. The foundries produce sand castings, chill castings and die-castings. The main market for cast products is in the construction of road vehicles. Mechanical engineering is also one of the important markets.
Growth of tube and aerosol and other cans remains dynamic
Aluminium converters processed a total of 174,817 tonnes of aluminium in Germany during the period January to June 2015. The production volume was thus 2.1 per cent lower than the corresponding period a year earlier. Conversion is divided into three product groups: foil and thin strip, tube / aerosol and other cans, and metal powder. Volume increases were reported for the tube / aerosol and other cans category (4.0 per cent), while the production of metal powder (-19.2 per cent) and foil and thin strip (-0.8 per cent) declined.
Business expectations are positive
The global economic situation improved in the second quarter of 2015. The driving force was the positive development in Europe, particularly in Germany. Companies are expecting moderate growth in industrial markets and the building sector. The transport sector has been the most dynamic market this year and provided additional support for the solid development of extruded products and aluminium castings. According to Dr Andreas Postler, head of Economics and Statistics at GDA, business activity in Germany’s aluminium industry is expected to show further positive development in the coming months: “Lightweight construction will continue to boost demand for aluminium. The German aluminium industry should therefore continue to develop positively in the second half of 2015.”