Aluminum sees growth year despite sluggish construction market

Apr 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | AMM staff

Tags  aluminum market, construction market, aluminum extrusions, Aluminum Extruders Council,

The transportation and energy sectors have driven the aluminum market so far in 2012, and all signs point to growth continuing through much of the rest of the year, market players say. In fact, only continued sluggishness in the construction sector is keeping the industry from sounding the bells for an all-out, full recovery.

North American aluminum extrusion markets are showing convincing signs of sustainable growth, with demand expected to rise further in 2012, billet producers and extruders told AMM at the Aluminum Extruders Council conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Aluminum extrusion demand will grow by 5 to 8 percent this year on the back of strong demand from the truck and trailer and automotive industries, said Jeff Henderson, director of marketing for Sapa Extrusions North America, a Rosemont, Ill.-based division of Swedish aluminum extruder Sapa Group. All end markets—with the exception of building and construction—will experience growth this year, he said. "We still believe there are a lot of houses in the supply chain and it’s still being worked through. Hopefully, the economy will continue to improve."

Although housing prices are low, it will still take time before confidence returns to the building and construction markets, Henderson said. "We think any real recovery in building and construction is two to three years away."

"(Building and construction) is still a ways off," a producer source agreed. "But everything else is solid."

Tightness in the North American billet market, which participants attributed to a number of outages and increased demand (AMM, Feb. 6), was another topic of discussion in Scottsdale. Billet markets have been busy since the end of January, although some question how long this will continue.....

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