MIAMI Aluminum demand growth has outpaced even the more bullish forecasts of the past few years, according to Alcoa Inc. president of global primary products Timothy Reyes.
Klaus Kleinfeld, the Pittsburgh-based companys chief executive officer, in 2010 was among a number of top executives to predict rapid demand growth over the next decade. He said that demand would likely double between 2010 and 2020, but growth over the past two years has exceeded even those expectations, Reyes said.
"Aluminum demand remains outstandingyou cant argue against the merits of the metal," he told delegates at AMM sister publication Metal Bulletins 19th Bauxite and Alumina Conference in Miami. "We said that demand would grow by roughly 6.5 percent per year, but so far were looking at 8.5-percent growth."
Reyes pointed to the trend of lightweighting in the auto industry and growth in emerging markets, especially China, as drivers for demand.
But low prices due to overproduction have masked this otherwise bullish market development, even as financing deals tie up the excess units so that the market is broadly balanced.
"The aluminum market is balanced, but about 30 percent of production is losing money," Reyes said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.