The year started with strong demand for all grades of aluminium foil in European markets. Production increased to 226,900 tonnes in the first quarter of 2017, 1.5 percent higher than the same period last time, according to the latest figures released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA). Exports continued to be volatile, showing a downturn in Q1 compared to the previous year, after a strong finish to 2016.
Deliveries of both thicker foils, used typically for semi-rigid containers and technical applications - ahead by 0.7% - and thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils - up 1.5% - confirm a continued steady recovery in the economies of the EAFA region, where total domestic shipments were up by 3.6% in the three months to March 2017.
Strong competition from overseas foil rollers continues to affect aluminium foil exports from Europe, which dipped by 14% compared with the same quarter in 2016. But some of the influences which have had an adverse impact, such as currency factors, are now moderating, offering European manufacturers more opportunities.
EAFA’s Executive Director, Guido Aufdemkamp confirmed that the prospects for the rest of the year are positive, “Certain factors, such as strong domestic demand from the flexible packaging sector and for technical applications, show an underlying strength in key markets for aluminium foil. This enables us to feel more confident about the upward trend we are seeing. Even exports, which remain harder to predict, are showing signs of recovery,” he added.
Aluminium foil characteristics are strength, formability and barrier properties which have made it an essential part of many flexible packaging and container applications. Other uses of aluminium foil include automotive and heat exchange components, insulation material and many industrial applications.