TOKYO, July 28 -- Global aluminum demand will hit 74 million tons in 2020, about double the 2009 figure, the Nikkei reported in its Wednesday morning edition, citing estimates by the Japan Aluminium Association.
Rather than automotive-use products and housing sashes, growth will likely be fueled by growth areas like materials for electrodes used in solar cells. And in China, demand is expected to more than triple.
By contrast, Japanese production of rolled aluminum sank to a 22-year low in 2009 on sluggish demand from the construction sector. Output is seen gaining 6.5% this fiscal year but will be driven by exports of auto-use aluminum to mainly China.
Japanese companies are shifting resources to overseas growth markets while paring output capacity and taking other restructuring steps at home.
No. 1 domestic firm Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corp. (5741.TO) will idle a portion of its Tochigi Prefecture plant in fiscal 2012, concentrating output at other facilities, such as one in Fukui Prefecture. Despite spending Y2 billion to reorganize, it foresees annual cost savings of Y3 billion from fiscal 2013.
Mitsubishi Aluminum Co. has wound down a domestic unit manufacturing aluminum products. It aims to cut Y20 million in costs a month by closing subsidiary plants and shedding personnel.