Preliminary estimates of total aluminum demand in the United States and Canada for the first quarter of 2012 totaled 5.8 million pounds, a 7.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 2011.
"Because of aluminum's low-weight and durability, people are turning to it for new and innovative application," said Heidi Brock, President of the Aluminum Association. "The North American aluminum industry is growing to meet this demand."
Compared to April 2011, net new orders of mill products reported by domestic producers increased 3.7 percent.
A significant increase was seen in demand for semi-fabricated or mill products which increased 7.9 over the first quarter of 2011. Total demand for semi-fabricated products climbed 5.4 percent over March 2011. A 3.0 percent and 12.7 percent increase was seen in March's demand for sheet and plate and extruded products, respectively.
Domestic aluminum production increased slightly in April after slipping in January and February from a two-year continuous upward momentum. Primary production in April 2012 rose 2,056 metric tons/year over March 2012's rate.
Secondary aluminum recovery increased 13.0 percent over March of 2011, according to the United States Geological Survey.
"While most markets are holding steady or beginning to look up, the key drivers are the transportation and electrical sectors," noted Brock.
Electrical wire and cable used in buildings applications and electrical transmission has increased 28.8% for the first four months of 2012. "Aluminum's high conductivity and low weight make it the material of choice for power transmission lines," said Brock.
Likewise, the Ducker Report expects aluminum as a percentage of the automotive material mix to double by 2025 to 16 percent. "The transition to aluminum in the automotive sector is being driven by efforts to increase fuel-efficiency," remarked Brock. "Downweighting with aluminum increases fuel efficiency and performance while maintaining the highest level of safety."
In a recent column for DesignNews, senior technical editor for materials and assembly, Ann R. Thryft headlined: "Metals Still Rule in Lightweighting."
The apparent consumption of aluminum in the North American market increased 7.0 percent over March 2011 to 1,688 million pounds and producer inventories declined two-tenths of one percent from March 2011.
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The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to aggressively promote aluminum as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today's market. The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminum, aluminum recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers. Member companies operate more than 200 plants in the United States, with many conducting business worldwide.