In complete contrast to the Q1 results last year, the first three months of 2018 saw an export-led increase in deliveries, rather than improved domestic demand. Overall production was up 1.8% to 234,000 tonnes (2017: 230,000 t), according to figures released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
Domestic deliveries dipped slightly by 2.2%, while exports of aluminium foil to non-European markets surged by 36%. Exports remained buoyant, continuing the trend seen at the end of year when increased overseas demand was also well above 30%.
Thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils increased by 3.7%, accelerating the steady recovery in demand seen in the previous year. Thicker gauges, typically used for semi-rigid containers and technical applications saw a downturn of 1.8%, reflecting the flat demand seen throughout the past 12 months.
Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of EAFA, commented on these results: “This is a good and promising start into 2018 and, importantly, a continuation of the 2017 trend. Exports jumped mainly due to US anti-dumping measures on aluminium foil. The short to medium term expectation is that the climate will remain positive, provided there are no major geopolitical disturbances and the general economic climate stays friendly,” he added.