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Aluminum production slides in ’12 despite rising demand

Keywords: Tags  Aluminum Association, aluminum demand, apparent consumption, production, imports, exports, semi-fabricated, inventories new orders

CHICAGO — Aluminum demand rose in the United States and Canada last year while production slipped, according to data released Feb. 25 by the Aluminum Association.

U.S. and Canadian aluminum demand jumped to 23.04 billion pounds in 2012, up 5.3 percent from the previous year.

Apparent domestic consumption—demand minus exports—rose 6.6 percent to 19.3 billion pounds.

Demand for semifabricated mill products was up 4.3 percent to 15.6 billion pounds, the group said.

On the trade front, exports of aluminum ingot and mill products—excluding cross-border trade—slipped 1.3 percent to 3.72 billion pounds in 2012, while imports increased 3.8 percent to 4.38 billion pounds.

Producer inventories stood at 2.43 billion pounds in December, up 0.4 percent from 2.42 billion pounds in November and 4.1 percent higher than December 2011 levels, the Arlington, Va.-based group said.

However, actual production totaled 4.85 million tonnes in 2012, down 2.4 percent from 2011. On an annualized basis, primary aluminum production in the United States and Canada reached 5.01 million tonnes in January, up 0.1 percent from December and 4.2 percent higher than January 2012.

Meanwhile, the association’s index of net new orders for aluminum mill products fell 0.8 percent in January from the same month last year. Orders for flat-rolled products jumped 2.5 percent year on year, but weren’t enough to offset an 11.4-percent decline in orders for extruded products and a 6.4-percent drop in orders for drawing stock, the association said.

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