The demand for aluminium foil declined in 2019, particularly in domestic markets.
However, the total tonnage delivered, 933,056 t, represents only a small 1.0 % drop compared to the record levels (942,496 t) in 2018, according to the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
Continuing the trend seen throughout the year, total deliveries to European customers declined 3.1 % to 781,320 tonnes. Once again exports showed more resilience, ending 11.4 % up at 151,736 tonnes overall. However, Q4 figures, often a strong period in recent years, saw overseas demand down 16.7 % (32,043 t) with domestic orders flat at 185,953 tonnes, a fall of 2 % on 2018.
Once again production of thinner gauges, mainly used for flexible packaging and household foils, was soft in European markets, ending down 2.6 % at 591,720 tonnes for the year, and 6,3 % lower in the final quarter. However thicker gauges, typically used for semi-rigid containers and technical applications, continued to put in a strong performance, finishing the year 2,0 % up, at 341.335 tonnes delivered, but recording a small decline of 1.2 % in the last three months of 2019.
Aluminium foil rollers well utilized
“Given the continuing trade dispute between China and the USA, flat demand in Europe and now the disruption to global trade caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we should be satisfied with such a small overall drop in demand,” said EAFA president Bruno Rea.
“Prior to the pandemic, signs were positive that the trade dispute would be resolved soon. Most European aluminium foil rollers are currently running at full capacity and supplying aluminium foil to the food and pharmaceutical sectors. These depend on aluminium foil’s unique barrier properties, which demonstrates the essential role of the foil industry based in Europe,” he added.