Aluminium foil deliveries inside Europe stayed relatively strong thanks to more demand for some gauges used in packaging application, during the current pandemic. Exports continued to decline due to lockdowns in many economies and disrupted supply chains. Total deliveries were down 4.5% in Q2, compared to 2019, at 234,000 tonnes. The first six months of this year saw production fall 2.0%, to 476,000 tonnes, according to figures just released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
However, closer analysis shows domestic deliveries of thinner gauges, mainly used for flexible packaging and household foils, actually increased marginally (0.3%) in these three months. This helped European deliveries of all gauges in the first six months of 2020 to add 0.5% over last year. The increase is accounted for by demand for food and pharmaceutical packaging caused by the pandemic, with more home consumption and less out-of-home usage, it is believed. Overall there was a small drop in total deliveries for thinner gauges, down 0.6% in the first half.
Unfortunately, the effects of the coronavirus weighed heavily on thicker gauges, typically used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications - so in the automotive and construction sectors, which have been badly affected. There was a steep decline in second quarter deliveries (over ten percent) leading to an overall drop of 4.4% for the first six months.
Unsurprisingly exports have been negatively affected by the global situation, as many traditionally strong overseas markets are badly disrupted. Q2 saw deliveries fall over ten percent and this figure also reflects the downturn in exports for the first half of the year.
Commenting on the figures, Bruno Rea, EAFA President said, “While the strong demand for food and pharmaceutical packaging can partially compensate the drops in exports and technical applications it is not something we want to see continue. Hopefully Q3 will see resumptions in construction and car production.
“Fortunately, the majority of European foil rollers have continued almost normal production, despite the difficulties. We expect the demand for packaging applications to return to typical levels while technical applications and exports will remain weaker. Nevertheless, we are more optimistic than at the very beginning of the pandemic,” he added.