Global primary aluminium production increased by 5.8 percent in 2017. Continuing strong demand is also being reflected in price trends and has had an enormous impact on the level of international aluminium stocks. Aluminium will continue to benefit from the trend towards lightweight construction in coming years.
Global primary aluminium production increased by 5.8 percent in 2017, with a 10 percent increase in China and stable production in North America and Europe. In total, approx. 63.2 million tonnes of aluminium were produced worldwide in 2017. Market observers are expecting continued solid growth in the current year, with Düsseldorf-based IKB Bank forecasting global primary aluminium production of 64 million tonnes and recycled aluminium production of approx. 12 million tonnes in 2018. Strong demand is also reflected in pricing trends. Whereas the price was approx. 1,700 US dollars per tonne at the start of 2017, it had risen to between 2,100 and 2,200 US dollars one year later.
The outlook for the aluminium industry in the current year continues to be good overall, in spite of continued political uncertainty, such as the planned US tariffs on aluminium imports, Brexit and the concern that China, as the world’s largest producer of aluminium and semi-finished aluminium products, might expand its exports into European markets.
China continues to be the primary driver of growth
The People’s Republic of China has long since become the world’s largest producer of aluminium, but even demand is growing there faster than anywhere else. China continues to be the primary driver of growth in the aluminium industry, and e-mobility is a major factor.
Global demand for primary and recycled aluminium is being fuelled by the trend towards lightweight construction in the automotive industry. The consumption of aluminium is growing in the booming aerospace industry, while the upturn in the construction industry in continental Europe is also stimulating demand. In addition, demand in the mechanical engineering and packaging markets continues to increase.
[Current primary production]
This chart illustrates the share of global current primary production by main producing country or region. It is notable that China now produces the majority (54%) of primary aluminium in the world. Other regions hold a much more modest share, below 10%, while Europe (EU+EFTA) represents a mere 7% of global production.