The world is looking for answers . . . aluminum is one of them

Apr 02, 2010 | 04:44 AM | Philip Martens

Macro trends like demographics, shifts in global wealth and, especially, sustainability will impact the way all business is conducted.

For the aluminum industry, these trends will combine to create more demand than even the most aggressive projections have so far realized.

With all the newly commissioned smelters and mills in China, India and other developing countries, there's a lot of hand-wringing about the dangers of overcapacity. However, I believe these macro trends will, over the next few decades, create so much demand that we could easily encounter an aluminum manufacturing capacity shortfall.

The burgeoning populations of India, China, Brazil, parts of Africa and Southeast Asia correlate with a rise in urbanization. Indeed, for the first time in history more than half the world's population now lives in cities vs. rural areas. Moreover, because it's concurrent with rapid industrialization, urbanization means economic advancement for those waves of people moving from the countryside to cities.

In just the next few years, more than 2 billion people will graduate from subsistence lifestyles to lives that people in the developed world would recognize as working class. They'll want housing, beverage containers, packaged food, appliances and a host of other products demanded by an ascendant consumer class.....

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