Overall, 2015 was a mixed year for the German aluminium industry. There was increased production in the primary aluminium, secondary aluminium, aluminium casting and aluminium converting fields but production of semi-finished aluminium products declined.
Aluminium industry at a glance
Macroeconomically, the aluminium industry plays an important role in the German economy. In 2015, its some 600 plants provided employment and income directly for 74,000 people. These plants include small businesses and medium-sized enterprises as well as international concerns. Further positive impacts on employment are generated by those branches of the economy linked to the aluminium industry.
The transport sector is the dominant segment of the German aluminium market. With a market share of 48 per cent, it accounted for almost half of total demand in 2015. The building and construction and packaging sectors together accounted for just over a quarter of demand, while a further 14 per cent was attributable to mechanical and electrical engineering. The remainder went into office equipment, household goods, the iron and steel industry and other end uses.
Export markets play an important role in the development of the aluminium industry. The most important trading partners are the other member countries of the European Union. In 2015, positive economic development in the United Kingdom in particular contributed to the German industry’s export successes, while customers from France and Italy demonstrated greater reluctance to buy. Overall, exports were an important pillar for German aluminium producers in 2015.
The German aluminium industry is cautiously optimistic with regards 2016. Although the dynamics of the global economy have weakened, an increase in the growth contributions from Europe and the USA are forecast. Furthermore, the expectations from important client segments of European industry as well as in building and construction are showing a positive tendency.
For Germany, most economic institutes and analysts are expecting a similarly positive development. However, the geopolitical risks have increased and have led to some uncertainty about future business development.