NEW YORK Aluminum service
centers are cautiously optimistic about demand in 2013 amid a
slight increase in orders.
Demand for 2000- and 7000-series
plate for commercial applications, such as tooling and
machining, has risen in particular, according to one service
"Id say truly for the
first time since 2008, weve received a lot of inquiries
for 2024(-series) and 7075(-series) commercial plate. These
orders are definitely picking up," he told AMM.
"Its a combination of inquiries and orders that
werent there before. I have no idea why, but Im
thrilled to see it." "(Id) say the overall market for
hard alloy plate is improving," a second service center source
A third service center source
agreed that hes seen an uptick in demand for 2024-series
plate, although most of his sales are to airplane seat
While most focused on new
aircraft build ratesAlcoa Inc. estimates Airbus SAS and
Boeing Co.s order backlogs are eight yearsplane
refurbishment is also an area of strong demand at the moment,
the third service center source said.
"If you have an old plane, like
ten years, thats not old enough to replace but it needs
sprucing up, (then you refurbish). Refurbishing is huge now,"
the third service center source said. "Were doing a whole
bunch of business, non-Boeing spec, that goes onto airplanes,
like aircraft seats. I call it aircraft applications.
(Airlines) are spending all of this money on seats. When you
reconfigure a 200-passenger plane, you dont just fix two
seats. Youre talking about at least 50."
Sources said the fundamentals
should dictate the market more than sentiment over the
"(People point) to the fiscal
cliff, or whatever the crisis du jour is for their
excuse for inaction. ... The fact is there is not a lot of
inventory and people need metal," the third service center
"The end of last week was really
good, but it hasnt really translated into this week," the
second service center source added. "Were not far enough
along yet (in January) to gauge. But Im optimistic."