A new report by global independent research analysts, CM Group, reveals greater optimism for the aluminium industry post-Covid with global aluminium demand expected to reach 298 million tonnes per year (mtpy) by 2050.

The report, An Initial Assessment of the Impact of the Covid–19 Pandemic on Global Aluminium Demand notes that while it is inevitable that the demand for aluminium will fall this year, there remains significant optimism to mid-century, adding that the long-term drivers of aluminium growth remain after Covid-19 and, if anything, the opportunities are greater.

The report which was commissioned by the IAI indicates a growing appetite for environmentally friendly solutions in transport, infrastructure, energy and food security, which aluminium is poised to deliver. This was a trend before the pandemic but is being accelerated by the crisis.

Aluminium is the most recycled and recyclable of all materials. Aluminium can be reused over and over again. Both aluminium and its alloys can be melted down and reused without any detriment to its mechanical properties. About 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today. With such a strong sustainability credential, the metal is ready to meet consumer expectations.

In his comments, Secretary General of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), Miles Prosser, said: “Covid-19 can, and should be, a pivotal moment for the aluminium industry. That the industry (like all industries) needed to adapt to changing expectations from society on ESG performance, was already well understood, but 2020 has sharpened those expectations. Growing demand is predicated on delivery of metal to markets that meets and exceeds those expectations – responsibly sourced, lower carbon, lower environmental impact”

The CM Group report uses forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in conjunction with its own evidence and an industry-wide survey.

The survey responses show a strong positive sentiment within the industry with 83% of respondents saying the pandemic will have just a short-term impact on aluminium consumption; with most expecting China’s economy to rebound in 2021, which aligns with the report’s own data.

More than half (56%) of those surveyed said they do not think the pandemic will cause fundamental changes to supply and consumption and that low-cost and well-performing organisations can benefit and increase their market share at the expense of outdated, high-cost rivals.

Mr Prosser added that “the aluminium industry – like all industrial sectors – is still facing a testing future in the short term, but there should be cause for optimism. We need all hands on deck – consumers, industry leaders, policy makers, governments and all stakeholders playing a part to deliver positive change. The opportunities are there. And In the midst of this Covid‑19 pandemic lies hope and good prospects for the aluminium industry.”