News from the Aluminium and Copper industries around the world


China determines the outcome of the global aluminium market

The total global aluminium production grew from 32 002 million tons in 2005 to 53 180 million tons in 2014 and is expected to reach 59 000 million tons in 2016. Looking at specific countries (see table below) it is clear that most countries decreased production while China significantly increased production.


According to the LME, global aluminium prices rose briefly in mid-July to over $ 1,700 per tons for the first time in twelve months. The sudden rise was due to the shock over the Brexit referendum. Prices quickly returned to normal as the global aluminium market is currently well supplied. China being by far the largest producer of aluminium represents a market share of almost 54%. The sharp rise of aluminium prices caused previously closed Chinese production facilities to go back into operation and all surplus materials were also exported.  As a result the aluminium price went back to 12,000 CNY ($ 1,826 USD) per ton whereby the LME average for July 2016 had been $ 1630 per ton – which is considered the break-even amount.

 GRAPH 1: year-on-year change in monthly aluminium production rate in percent



High Chinese production continues to get exported to the rest of the world. The decrease in local Chinese demand for aluminium adds to the pressure of exporting more material. As a result the physical premiums on aluminium have fallen in major countries and regions.

GRAPH 2: Falling physical premiums speak against shortage on aluminum market (USD per ton)


According to industry sources Japanese aluminium producers and consumers agreed to a premium of 90 US $ per Ton for the third quarter of this year. This is 22% less than in the second quarter.  In Europe and the US the physical premiums are also in decline. According to data from Metal Bulletin, the European premium in mid-July was 65 USD per ton. The lowest level since October 2015. In the US, the impact corresponds with a premium of 150 USD per ton. The low premiums indicate that there is no shortage in aluminium supplies and therefore one should expect the price of aluminum to remain in the lower levels.


According to data from the international Aluminium Institute (IAI) the dominant trend (as shown in the chart below) is towards a decrease in the aluminium price. It is expected that the aluminium price will range between $ 1440 and $ 1600 for the rest of the year.


MTT is a leading importer of Chinese aluminium semi-finished products. We offer tubes, bars, profiles, foil, sheets, strip and plates. With strong relationships in China, Singapore and Germany we are able to offer you high quality products at international competitive prices. Please let us have your specific requirements enabling us to provide you with our best offer.

Written by: Lasell Swart


Aluminium Insider | Metal Bullentin | Commerzbank:


Aluminium Trucks, Road Tankers, Buses and Trailers

Modern trucks, buses and trailers with aluminium bodies are several hundred kilograms lighter than those built using conventional methods of construction. There are multiple advantages of using aluminium in the road transportation industry. China’s largest bus manufacturer (the world’s second largest), developed two environmentally-friendly bus prototypes. The aluminium-intensive bus body is nearly 50% lighter than a traditional bus. It requires less fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases.

The main concern of transport companies is profitability. Investment in new engine technologies and the rising price of fuel increases costs. At the same time it is difficult to increase transport prices due to the high competition between operators. Therefore, vehicle manufacturers aim to constantly improve their performance at minimum costs. South American, in particular Brazilian, buses have always been extensively manufactured with aluminium. This experience has enabled Brazil’s to become worldwide leaders in bus manufacturing. The same applies to Chinese manufacturers. The choice of material greatly impacts the profitability. Key benefits of using aluminium:

Improved Fleet Performance 

Truck fleet operators benefit from a better performance of their fleet. The use of aluminium ensures a significant cargo increase which makes the fleet much more profitable. Another fact is cost savings that result from smaller fleets with less staff, lower fuel bills and lower road toll costs.


Use of aluminium components increases the residual value of vehicles due to the high value of aluminium scrap. The aluminium components are recycled in an established process and thus land-filling is avoided.  For these reasons, aluminium use in trucks, trailers and buses will continue to grow significantly.

Aluminium Looks Good Forever 

Modern commercial vehicles can’t escape the pressures of industrial design. Among other things operators vehicles represent their businesses its essential for their fleets to look good and be clean. Due to aluminium’s flexible properties it is the ideal material for producing vehicles that not only look good but are easy to clean.

China: A New Era of City Buses 

Recent years have witnessed a continuing population shift in China, as more people migrate from rural areas to urban settings. This inward migration presents stresses to the existing infrastructure — particularly transportation routes. As a solution China has begun implementing bus rapid transit (BRT) systems, which increase speed (due to aluminium), safety and diminish pollution.

In summary aluminium usage in the road transportation industry has been very successful due to the lightness of aluminium, the design flexibility for manufacturers and the economical way that the material can be recycled. Aluminium rolled and extruded products used by the truck and bus manufacturing industry in China is also available for export.  MTT offers rolled, extruded and cast alloys for manufacturers.

References – | |

by Lasell Swart


Aluminium Packaging: Top Trends Your Company Should Know About

Aluminium packaging provides a complete barrier to moisture, light, oxygen, and bacteria. Products as diverse as soup, coffee, chocolates, tobacco, toiletries, tennis balls, chilled foods and take-away meals are packaged in it.  Aluminium’s ability to form any shape has made it the most versatile packaging material in the world. A key benefit is that aluminium packaging materials can be 100% recycled and reused an infinite number of times.

Aluminium Foil and Can Packaging

The first aluminium rolling plant opened in 1910 in Switzerland. In 1911, Switzerland–based Tobler began wrapping it’s world famous triangular chocolate bar, Toblerone in foil. Foil packaging usage and improvements grew to include the use of print, colour and laminate aluminium. Foil packaging often ensures that the shelf life of groceries can exceed 12 months.

Aluminium beverage cans are the most environmentally friendly and most recyclable type of container in the world. The can itself does not get rusty or lose its properties in any way. On average, it takes 60 days to manufacture one aluminium can, fill it up, deliver it to a store, sell it to a customer, recycle it and make a new can from it. Global growth of the aluminium beverage can industry is projected at four to five percent in 2016 – this trend to continue.

Savings in Transport 

Aluminium as a packaging material also enables savings through transporting goods. For example, Kraft Foods replaced glass bottles with composite aluminium bags. The amount of beverages they could transport in a single vehicle doubled as the aluminium composite bags weigh only 6.1% of the weight of the beverages themselves.

Looking at the future

The chart below shows 2014’s packaging industry. Metal (Aluminium) make up around 17% of the packaging market. It is predicted that the global packaging industry’s annual growth will be 4% in 2017. With sales expected to reach over 1 billion US dollars by 2018.


The increased growth of urbanisation, There are a number of trends responsible for this expected growth. Driving packaging demand in China, India, Brazil, Russia and other emerging economies are:

  • The development of retail chains
  • The expanding healthcare and cosmetic sectors
  • The increasing presence of women in the workforce will result in a preference for convenience packaged food and beverage items.

In developed countries the trend is towards smaller households. Accompanying this is a rise in demand for smaller pack sizes for convenience. There are also a growing number of men interested in health and beauty products.


The weight of aluminium beverage cans have been reduced further and further over the years. The first beverage can over 60 years ago weighed more than 80 grams. Today a 330 ml aluminium can weighs about 13 grams.

The thickness of aluminium foil used to be a standard minimum thickness of 7 microns in converter foil. This has been reduced to 6.5 and now 6.35 microns. MTT is now offering 5.50 microns aluminium foil for the packaging industry. The thinnest foil we supply is 4.5 microns for the use of capacitors.

By Lasell Swart


European Aluminium Freedonia group Aluminium Leader Smither spira Canadean report