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2012 Shipments Down 0.5%, But 2013 Outlook Better

Saturday, Jan 26, 2013

Japan's rolled aluminum shipments for calendar 2012 totaled 1.98 million mt, down 0.5% from 2011, the association said. The 2012 shipments were the lowest since 1.74 million mt marked in 2009.

Shunichi Shiraishi, the association chairman, during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, said he was hopeful about Japanese demand improving in 2013.

"Demand has slumped from the peak in 1997 [a record high of 2.54 million mt of shipments]... Current conditions are challenging, but I believe it will be better this year, better than last year," he said.

Shiraishi pointed out that global automobile output was increasing every year.

"Currently, automotive demand is bad. In 2012, automotive demand in Europe had fallen, but there was positive growth in the US and China, so the overall car output volume is increasing. This is the trend which the aluminum industry will be able to take advantage of," he said.

"As for construction, there is little sign of actual progress in earthquake reconstruction works, but from now on, there will be more focus on reconstruction and results in more factories, facilities building up, which will trigger construction-related aluminum demand... "The consumption tax hike in 2014 will also fuel demand for housing and other goods [before it is implemented]," he said.

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