Mumbai: The aluminium demand growth is expected to accelerate to 4-5% this year from 3% last year, helped by the power, auto and construction sectors, a top official at the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) said.
Aluminium consumption was likely to be more than 1.2 million tonnes in 2009-10 (April-March) up from last year’s 1.15 million tonnes, said A.K. Sharma, chairman of the standing committee for non-ferrous minerals and industries at Fimi.
“People are purchasing the metal even at higher prices, which shows demand is there,” Sharma said in a phone interview late on Monday.
“The auto sector worldwide is picking up. In India also demand is strong from transport, plus construction and power sectors,” Sharma said.
Indian demand expanded at 7 to 8% in 2007-08 but then slowed in 2008-09, said Sharma, who is also the director of production at state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco).
India produced 1.35 million tonnes of aluminium in 2008-09, a small share of global production of 40.16 million tonnes.
Nalco, the third-largest aluminium producer, is expanding the capacity of its smelter in the eastern state of Orissa to 460,000 tonnes by December, although it would take a year for actual production to be increased to that level, Sharma said.
In 2009-10, Nalco is aiming for output of 435,000 tonnes, a 20% jump from 361,262 in 2008-09, which he said would be used to meet local demand and exports.
“We already have about 80,000 tonnes committed for exports. Our aim is to export 100,000-120,000 tonnes by the end of year,” Sharma said.
Nalco has launched aluminium billets and rolled products for export that have just started to be purchased by Singapore, Dubai and Sri Lanka.
“We wanted to introduce these in the foreign market to get some capability outside,” he said.
Nalco would float global tenders for the billets and rolled products in addition to alumina, aluminium ingots and aluminium sows it already exports, Sharma said.
The company’s exports are small, but its selling prices are seen as a benchmark in the international market.