European aluminium foil rollers deliver solid performance in a disruptive year

Despite major disruption to markets, supply chains and production during 2020, European deliveries of aluminium foil, to both domestic and overseas markets, ended the year only fractionally (0,2%) lower than the previous year. Total production was 930.700 tonnes, compared to 933.100 in 2019. Overall domestic deliveries were 0,5% lower, while exports showed an encouraging 0,8% increase, according to the latest figures released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).

Production of thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils, ended the year up by 2,1%, while thicker gauges, used for semi-rigid containers, technical or other applications, closed 4,3% down. These figures are accounted for by relatively strong demand for packaging, household foil and foil containers due to lockdowns, as well as increased retail sales plus take-away and delivery consumption. This was offset by a drop in orders for technical and industrial applications and some other foodservice uses, which underwent major upheavals in the pandemic.

The figures for the final quarter of 2020 were 2,9% up, revealing stable demand, at 224.300 tonnes (2019: 218.000). This period is usually affected by the long Christmas and New Year holiday and totals are traditionally lower than for Q1-Q3. Thinner gauges accounted for much of the solid performance, with deliveries +5,5% while thicker gauges dropped only marginally, down 1,6%.

With global markets experiencing major disruption, exports of aluminium foil from Europe achieved a strong outcome, increasing by 0,8%. At a time, when most markets and supply chains have been turbulent, this is seen as a very positive result.

Bruno Rea, President of EAFA expressed his satisfaction at the year-end results. “Compared with some other sectors of industry, European aluminium foil rollers have achieved a very satisfying performance across all markets in 2020,” he said.

“The outlook for 2021 is for a slow general recovery, post COVID-19, which could have a continued impact on the business for a time, as uncertainties about trade continue. But generally, we are confident of a stable, positive year ahead. Also, we look forward to the results of the EU Commission anti-dumping investigations for converter foil, which will be published in May this year,” he added.


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