The first quarter of 2022 saw strong domestic demand offset a continuing decline in exports for European aluminium foil deliveries.
Overall, the tonnage produced, 244,700, was just 0.2 % below the same period last year. Demand in the larger domestic market segment was up 5 %, while exports dropped sharply by 27 %, as pressures on several non-domestic fronts continue to weigh, according to figures released recently by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
Domestic demand picks up
European foil rollers are focusing their efforts on the strong recovery in European demand, particularly for thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and other kitchen applications, which saw a remarkable growth in Q1 of almost 9 %. This is considerably higher than the 6 % seen in Q4 2021 and the overall growth trend last year of 3 %. This is attributed to increased packaging requirements caused by renewed stocking trends in retail. Outside Europe deliveries fell about 25 %.
Retail packaging demand on the rise
Thicker gauges, used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications, performed less well, with declines of 1.5 % in Europe and 30 % elsewhere. After a strong end to 2021 production for these gauges is mostly down due to weaker demand in some technical areas and stock adjustment.
When taking account of the drop in exports the total demand for thinner gauges was 2.4 % ahead in the first three months of the year, while thicker gauges ended down 4.6 % in this period.
European aluminum foil rollers are optimistic for the full year 2022
Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of EAFA believes the figures show a strong temporary recovery of the European economies while being very uncertain about the future development. “Fortunately, the resilience of the European market is very encouraging and gives us reason for optimism that this will keep our foil production at a high level over the entire year. But external disruptions and availability in the global logistic chain or further sudden rises in energy costs as well as expected high inflation force the manufacturers to continue being on high alert.”
“New foil rolling capacities went online recently and existing ones are going to be modernised. This shows the industry is very committed to meet the growing demand for aluminium foil in Europe caused by strong packaging and technical end-markets like battery foil for e-mobility.”