Japan 2007 secondary aluminium shipments hit record 1,120,493 mt

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Tokyo (Japan) - Japan's domestic shipments of secondary aluminium continued to rise for 31 consecutive months in December and hit a record high for full year 2007, Japan Aluminium Alloy Refiners Association said on Friday.

The shipments in December totaled 92,319 mt, up 1.9% year on year. This year-on-year growth has continued for 31 months, the association said. The country's total shipments for 2007 reached a record high of 1,120,493 mt, up 4.7% from 2006.

Aluminium alloy demand for the automotive sector is supporting the growth, as the quantity of aluminium alloy shipped to the sector accounts for over 80% of total shipments. Japan's automobile production has been increasing since 2002.

Japan's demand for secondary aluminium alloy has been on the rise since 2001, the association's data showed. The 2001 shipments were 917,922 mt. In 2004, the shipments exceeded 1 million mt to record 1,018,391 mt. The 2005 shipments were 1,044,420 mt, and in 2006, 1,070,084 mt.

In December, automotive related shipments increased. Shipments to molders were 25,687 mt, up 4.6% year on year, and to diecasters 49,749 mt, up 1.5%.

Meanwhile, shipments to other industrial sectors were mixed in December. Those to sheet makers were 6,696 mt, down 2.7% year on year, to extruders 5,693 mt, up 2.1%, to steelmakers 2,286 mt, up 3.3%, and to other alloy makers 2,808 mt, down 1.5%.

Japan also relies on imported secondary aluminium alloy to feed the growing auto demand. The customs data showed that Japan imported 1,128,804 mt of the alloy in 2007, slightly above the domestic shipment figure.