The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) and the Aluminum Association report that the aluminium extrusion industry in the United States and Canada reached record high shipments in 2018.

Among key findings, producer shipments totalled 5.51 billion pounds in 2018, which is 4.5 percent higher than shipments in 2017 and 3.2 percent higher than shipments in 2006. This is the ninth consecutive year of growth.

Shipments of extruded products to domestic markets increased across all sectors in 2018. Building and Construction continues to be the largest market sector for extruded products, although not as significant as a percentage of total shipments as in 2006 (see comparisons below). Shipments to the Building and Construction market totalled 2.12 billion pounds in 2018.

Transportation is the second largest market sector at 1.82 billion pounds. Shipments to this sector have grown by 16% since 2006. Auto and light truck is the principal growth market for extruded products and shipments to this sector have grown by more than 72% since 2006. Other important market sectors for extruded products are consumer durables, machinery and equipment, electrical, and exports.

“Surpassing its highpoint in 2006 is a great milestone for the aluminium extrusion industry. The numbers clearly show expanded utilisation of aluminium extrusions in the transportation sector driven by new applications in the automotive industry,” Jeff Henderson, President of the Aluminum Extruders Council said. “Meanwhile, building and construction demand has held up even though building starts continue to be well below their peaks in 2006. The construction industry’s shift to thermally enhanced extrusions and growing demand in the commercial building sector have maintained this end-use segment as the largest consumers of aluminium extrusions. Other new applications in industrial, electrical, and renewable energy continue to report growth as well.”

“Extrusions are a critical segment of the aluminium industry value chain in the United States and we are pleased to see continued demand growth,” added Ryan Olsen, the Aluminum Association's Vice President and Business Information Statistics. “Extrusions represent nearly 30 percent of all aluminium industry jobs in the U.S. – our single largest segment.”

Imports of extruded products into the United States and Canada, excluding cross border trade, continued to rise in 2018 and totalled 472 million pounds. Import penetration, which is measured as a share of domestic producer shipments less exports, grew to 8.4 percent in 2018, compared to 7.5 percent in 2017. Peak imports were recorded in 2010 at 488 million pounds. The top five source countries for imports during 2018 include: Mexico; Vietnam; Malaysia; Indonesia; and China.

“The aluminium industry in the United States is committed to free, fair and open trade with partners who play by the rules,” Olsen added. “That’s why the Aluminum Association, along with our partners at the Aluminum Extruders Council, have focused on targeted trade enforcement efforts in markets where unfairly subsidised aluminium from China is hurting companies and workers.”

“We are looking closely at growing imports into the North American market,” added Henderson. “While the mix of countries exporting to the U.S. have changed a bit, the pattern is familiar to extruders. All in all, 2018 was a breakout year for aluminium extrusion consumption and demonstrates the effectiveness of the massive capital investment made in this industry since it gained tariff protection against unfair trade practices by extruders and importers of aluminium profiles produced in China.”

Aluminum Association statistics are based on the results of surveys conducted by the Aluminum Association in cooperation with the Aluminum Extruders Council , as well as estimates developed by the members of the Association’s Statistical and Market Research Committee.