The European industry produced 3.4 million tonnes of aluminium extrusions in 2018.
Germany is the European aluminium extrusion industry’s largest customer by far, accounting for almost a third of total production They are used in the industrial and construction sectors and other markets. Within the industrial sector, the transport sector is of paramount importance.
According to a report by the German aluminium industry association GDA, extrusion production in Germany in 2018 amounted to 579,000 tonnes, which is 0.8% below the previous year’s level. The output of profiles – the most important product segment in terms of quantity – decreased 1.7% year-on-year. The WLTP conversion problems were the main reason. With 51,600 tonnes (+10.3%), rod and bar accounted for the second largest share of production. Tube production amounted to 9,200 tonnes (-4%).
According to initial projections, German demand for extruded products – defined as domestic shipments plus imports – amounted to 1.045 million tonnes (+1%) in 2018.
Growing pressure from imports
Imports of extruded products into the European Union increased by 4% in 2018. China (+15%), Turkey (+19%) and Switzerland (+11%) benefited most from this development. China accounts for 34% of imports and Turkey for as much as 24%. Switzerland accounts for 8%.
German imports rose by a 3% in 2018. There was above-average growth in imports from China (+32%) and Turkey (+12%). However, Italy (+8%) and Greece (+18%) recorded particularly strong growth as well.
The United Kingdom is an important export market for the German extrusion industry. Exports already decreased 3% in 2018. For German companies, up to 5% of their own production is directly at stake as a result of the consequences of Brexit.
Mood in the extrusion industry slightly improved
Despite the slight slowdown in the global economy expected by many economic institutes, the mood in the extrusion industry has slightly improved since the fourth quarter of 2018. Capacity utilisation by manufacturers of extruded products is largely satisfactory and demand is expected to grow slightly, says GDA. That this remains so, however, depends on numerous exogenous factors, such as the outcome of the Brexit deal, the trade dispute between the USA and the European Union, and the development in China.