Domestic aluminium demand up 4.3% in first quarter in signs of industry rebound

The Aluminum Association released preliminary estimates as part of its monthly Aluminum Situation statistical report showing demand for the aluminium industry in North America (U.S. and Canada) increased 4.3% year-over-year through the first quarter of 2024. This follows an estimated drop in demand of 3.9% last year after strong results in 2022.

“Domestic aluminium demand is rebounding so far this year amidst continued interest from our customers and end consumers in more sustainable, recyclable material options,” said Charles Johnson, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “We continue to believe that the North American region – and the United States in particular – is one of the best places in the world to make and use aluminium. The ongoing investment and demand we are seeing appear to agree.”

Among key takeaways from the report:

  • Aluminium demand in the United States and Canada (shipments by domestic producers plus imports) totaled an estimated 6,955 million pounds through March 2024, compared to the Q1 2023 total of 6,666 million pounds.
  • Primary aluminium ingot shipments increased 16% year-over-year compared to Q1 of 2023 while sheet & plate shipments grew 6.1% during the same time period.
  • At the same time, foil shipments dropped 19.2% and extruded product shipments dropped 5.4% in the first quarter compared to last year.
  • Total semi-fabricated – or “mill” – product demand was up five-tenths of one percent year-over-year.
  • Exports of aluminium ingot and mill products from the U.S. and Canada (excluding cross border trade) totaled 769 million pounds to date, up 36.6 over like-2023.
  • On average, orders recorded by domestic producers year-to-date in 2024 (through April) increased 4.8 percent over year-to-date 2023, according to the association’s Index of Net New Orders of Aluminum Mill Products (baseline index of 100).
  • Total imports of unwrought aluminium and semi-fabricated aluminium products into North America (US and Canada) have fallen 13.5% year-to-date in 2024 (through April).

Over the last decade, Aluminum Association member companies have announced more than $10 billion in investments for domestic manufacturing operations including nearly $200 million in U.S. manufacturing in 2024 alone. This historic investment is largely thanks to demand for sustainable packaging, safe and efficient vehicles, greener buildings and vital infrastructure.

With sustainability an increasingly important driver of future demand for the material, the Aluminum Association recently completed a report, Pathways to Decarbonization: A North American Aluminum Roadmap, that lays out theoretical pathways to achieve industry wide carbon emission reductions consistent with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 goals. The report concluded that North America enjoys a significant carbon emissions advantage over much of the rest of the global aluminium industry. Moving forward, access to abundant clean energy and investment in new technologies will be central to hitting ambitious emissions targets by mid-century.

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