Stable performance for European foil rollers in 2022
Foil production in Europe holds up in face of continued market uncertainties and rising energy costs
Full year figures for European aluminium foil production in 2022 show a stable development (+0,4%) in volume over the previous 12 months, reaching 971.300 tonnes (2021: 967.000t). Despite market uncertainties and high energy costs, both domestically and in export markets deliveries remained resilient, according to figures released recently by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).
Over the year production of thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils, was 1,5% ahead, maintaining the levels seen at the halfway stage of the year, thanks to stable demand from packaging converters and a growing market for batteries for electric vehicles. Volumes for thicker gauges, used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications, remained flat all year, ending 2022 down by 1,4%. This is accounted for by continuing disruption in the automotive and construction sectors affecting demand.
After the sharp drop in exports (-29%) at the beginning of 2022, overseas demand stabilised and then strongly picked up (+25%) in Q4 to end the year just 1,9% down, year-on-year. Continuing disruption in local supply chains in these markets, particularly lockdowns in production facilities in China, as well as certain trade defence instruments had a beneficial impact for European foil rollers where production continued uninterrupted throughout the year. Domestic deliveries of foil held up consistently throughout 2022 and ended slightly ahead by 0,8% compared to the year before.
“This is a satisfying and solid performance. “said Bruno Rea, Chair of the EAFA Roller Group. “The foil rolling industry continues to be resilient, despite the energy cost explosion caused by the conflict in Ukraine. This situation has hit European foil rollers, as well as every other industry.”
“Thinner gauges continue to grow modestly, while demand for thicker gauges seems to have stabilised. Continuing the trend seen throughout 2021, our domestic markets gained in importance. But it is good that exports recovered towards the end of the year.,” he continued. “However, the foil industry hopes for and expects a continuous growth path in 2023”.
“In general, industry is relieved that the fears of a deep global recession, announced in the middle of last year, have abated and forecasts predict less drastic or even no downturns in growth. However, with many geopolitical and economic uncertainties remaining this situation could change again. A bright spot is in the area of new applications, such as batteries used in electric vehicles, of which foil is a key component. As these gain more and more importance, so their production and consequent demand for foil should further increase.”