A growing Middle Class in Latin America and especially Asia will help boost demand, Alcoa Europe president Marcos Ramos told the CRU 16th World Aluminium Conference in Barcelona.

While Europe and North America already have an established Middle Class, Asia, and China especially, is continuing to grow. By 2030 there are expected to be 2.7 billion people described as Middle Class in Asia alone. Their increased use of transportation, houses and consumer items will increase aluminium demand.

This year, demand should increase 12% year-on-year, Mr Ramos forecast.

China’s consumption of aluminium is set to be larger than Germany’s by 2017 in terms of pounds per capita, Mr Ramos added.

Europe will benefit from the increased demand thanks to its high value products. However, it needs a fully integrated supply chain from primary to fabrication. Smelter costs rose $400/t between 2005 to 2010 from $1488/t to $1878/t. Power costs in Europe are second highest in the world, only China has higher prices.

Mr Ramos said a policy was needed that allowed industry to compete globally, especially in regard to proposed CO2 legislation.

A more detailed review of the 16th World Aluminium Conference will appear in a forthcoming issue of Aluminium International Today.