Solid performance for aluminium foil deliveries in Q3 maintains 2022 progress
Despite a small dip in deliveries in the third quarter of 2022, down just 0,3% at 237,800 tonnes compared to the same period in 2021, the year to date (YTD) performance is still 0,4% ahead of the previous year. The three-month period July to September 2022 saw a solid performance across all markets. It is well ahead of comparative figures for 2020 (+1,8%) when the full impact of COVID 19 was being felt, and 3,6% above 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to figures released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
Deliveries of thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils, continued the trend seen through the first half of the year, showing an increase of 1,8% compared to the 2021 volumes and YTD remains comfortably ahead of the year before, at +2,1%. This is accounted for, mainly, by continuing strong demand from packaging converters in Europe.
Demand for thicker gauges, used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications, declined 4,1% in the three-month period and YTD by 2,7%, reflecting a continued slowdown in out of home food deliveries, destocking and ongoing disruptions in the technical markets it serves.
After some weaker figures for export deliveries of aluminium foil outside Europe in the first half of the year, there was an increase of 1,3% in Q3 as local production issues, such as continued lockdowns in these markets, caused them supply problems. However, the first nine months of 2022 saw an overall decline of 9,7% in sales for European foil rollers to non-European customers.
EAFA’s Executive Director Guido Aufdemkamp saw some positive signs in the latest figures. “This is a strong performance in the current circumstances, and we remain cautiously optimistic that the rest of the year will continue to reflect a return to more normal levels of shipments, particularly in Europe. Demand in the packaging converting sector remains high and, while technical markets such as automotive and construction remain disrupted and therefore uncertain, the pattern for the year shows a more stable outlook.”
“Certainly we are well ahead of the demand levels seen in 2019 and 2020. A slowdown in some volumes compared to 2021 could be expected as, in that period, companies were restocking after a long period of depressed demand, this is particularly true of thicker gauges. The market for thinner gauges seems to be growing continuously and we expect this to be maintained during 2023. While energy costs, materials supply disruption and the conflict in Ukraine will continue to impact on markets, the foil rolling industry in Europe has shown itself to be adaptable and resilient to be able to meet the needs of its customers,” he added.