According to an announcement by Alcoa, global demand for aluminium is likely to grow this year at its slowest pace since the global recession of 2009.

Roy Harvey, Alcoa’s chief executive, said in a presentation to analysts that the company expected worldwide demand to grow by 3-4 per cent this year, which would be the slowest rate since the world market shrank during the downturn that followed the great financial crisis.

Mr Harvey pledged to respond “with urgency to these dynamic conditions” in the coming year.

He was speaking as Alcoa reported earnings for the fourth quarter of last year that were down 37 per cent from the equivalent period of 2017, but above analysts’ expectations.