CHICAGO While aluminum demand in the United States and Canada increased through April, other key indicators showed declines, including May domestic production, April scrap purchases and an index of new orders, according to recent Aluminum Association data.
U.S. and Canadian demandshipments by domestic producers plus importsincreased to 8.18 billion pounds in the first four months of 2013, up 2 percent from the same period last year, while apparent domestic consumption (demand minus exports) inched up 0.5 percent to 6.81 billion pounds in the same comparison.
Demand for semifabricated mill products rose 0.4 percent to 5.47 billion pounds, the Arlington, Va.-based trade group said. Exports of aluminum ingot and mill productsexcluding cross-border tradejumped 9.1 percent to 1.36 billion pounds through April, while imports fell 4.4 percent to 1.41 billion pounds.
Producer inventories totaled 2.62 billion pounds at the end of April, down 0.4 percent from the previous month but up 9 percent from a year earlier, the group said.
While demand increased through April, primary aluminum production in the United States and Canada slipped to an annualized rate of nearly 5.04 million tonnes in May, down 0.5 percent from April but still 4 percent ahead of May 2012.
The Aluminum Associations index for new orders for May fell 6.3 percent from a year earlier, with year-to-date orders recorded by domestic producers down 4.3 percent from the first five months of last year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. aluminum industry purchased 762.3 million pounds of scrap in April, down 3 percent from the same month last year, the association said, citing government statistics.