Overall, the production of packaging based on or including aluminium recorded dynamic growth last year.

The manufacturers of aluminium packaging increased their production by 13.6% y-o-y to 405.1kt from 356.6kt.

“In terms of production we have almost reached the level we were at before the crisis,” said Stefan Glimm, executive director of Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie e.V. (GDA) in Düsseldorf.

Strong demand came from the most important markets for aluminium packaging, namely the cosmetics, pharma and food industries.

“Our sector is expecting stable development at a high volume level in 2011 similar to the general economic forecasts,” added Mr Glimm. The good situation is being clouded, however, by rising prices for raw materials and higher operating costs, which are squeezing margins.

In addition to the upturn in domestic demand, the recovery in user markets was attributable to strong export demand. Sales abroad account for about 70% of the turnover of the companies in the sector.

Aluminium packaging manufacturers’ sales forecasts and growth expectations for 2011 remain optimistic. With high demand and stable levels of orders received, the first quarter of 2011 is carrying on smoothly from last year’s good level.

The sector continues to be concerned about the large price increases for energy and raw materials.

Strong, double-digit percentage increases in the cost of plastics, printing inks and lacquers are exerting a significant squeeze on aluminium packaging manufacturers’ margins.

On top of this there are the raw-materials shortages due to delivery bottlenecks, such as for bought-in plastic products.

The recycling of aluminium packaging in Germany has again increased from its already high level and reached a new record in 2009. Of the 91kt of aluminium used in packaging during the year, 74.9kt were recovered. This represents a recycling rate of 82.3%.