TOKYO, June 25 -- Chinese demand for primary aluminum is likely to nearly triple to 43.6 million tonnes in 2020 from an estimated 15.5 million tonnes this year, a Japanese industry group said on Wednesday.
The Japan Aluminum Association said it compiled the data for China based on historic trends as it is the world's largest consumer of the industrial metal and its demand has global implications.
The association estimated that global demand for primary aluminum in 2020 would total 73.9 million tonnes and supply would be 66 million tonnes. In 2010, supply is seen at 44.6 million tonnes while demand is estimated at 38 million tonnes, the group said.
It said the shortage of primary aluminum in 2020 could be over 10 million tonnes when taking into account that old refineries are to be closed in 10 years from now, and this pointed to the need for more recyling and stable procurement.
The metal is used widely in products ranging from computers, cars, planes and building materials to the food sector.
Japan imports about 2 million tonnes of primary aluminum per year.
The industry group estimated Japan's demand for primary aluminum at 1.9 million tonnes in 2010 and at 2.4 million tonnes in 2020, though it said the forecast was very optimistic, based on an assumption that robust global growth will push up 2020 demand to a level equal to a record marked in the past.
A similar assumption is used for estimating U.S. demand at 6.2 million tonnes in 2020, up about 40 percent from 2010, it said.
Japanese shipments of aluminum products for the business year to March 2011 are estimated at 1.975 million tonnes, up from 1.854 million tonnes estimated for 2009/2010, the association has said.
An official at an end-user company said demand projection for primary aluminum for 2010 matched industry expectations.