CHICAGO U.S. and Canadian aluminum demand edged up through most of 2012 even as production slipped, according to industry figures compiled by the Aluminum Association and the Aluminium Association of Canada.
Demand (shipments by domestic producers plus imports) totaled more than 21.19 billion pounds in the first 11 months of 2012, up 5.7 percent from nearly 20.04 billion pound the previous year, but primary aluminum production for the full year slid 2.4 percent to 4.85 million tonnes (about 10.69 billion pounds).
Shipments of U.S. and Canadian aluminum mill products through November totaled 14.29 billion pounds, up 5.4 percent from 13.55 billion pounds in the first 11 months of 2011, with extruded products jumping 9.8 percent to 3.19 billion pounds, sheet and plate climbing 3.2 percent to 8.39 billion pounds and electrical wire and cable surging 21.4 percent to 842 million pounds. Foil shipments, however, slid 4.1 percent to just under 1.3 billion pounds.
The Aluminum Associations index of new orders for the first 11 months of last year moved up 1.9 percent from a year earlier, with the index for extruded products rising 7.2 percent and the flat-rolled products inching up 1.0 percent, but the index for drawing stock slid 2.2 percent.