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Aluminum Shipments by Japan Expand for Third Month on Autos

Japan’s shipments of rolled-aluminum products expanded 1.4 percent in April, the third straight month of increase, as demand from automakers surged.

Supplies to domestic and export markets increased to 166,048 metric tons last month from 163,805 tons a year earlier, the Japan Aluminium Association said today. The pace of increase slowed from 1.7 percent in March.

“Shipments to the auto industry jumped as the government revived subsidy payments to buyers of fuel-efficient models, boosting car sales,” Takeki Murayama, secretary general of the association, said today in Tokyo.

Sales to carmakers soared 48 percent to 23,519 tons, offsetting declines in shipments to makers of cans and electronics devices, according to the association.

Members of the association include Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corp. (5741), Kobe Steel Ltd. (5406) and Nippon Light Metal Co.

Details of output, shipments and inventories are as follows:

================================================================
             Apr 2012     Mar 2012           Apr/Mar    Apr Y/Y
================================================================
                                               (%)          (%)
OUTPUT        168,584      172,984            -2.5         +1.5
 Flat-rolled  104,126      104,069            +0.1         +0.1
 Extruded      64,458       68,915            -6.5         +3.8
SHIPMENTS     166,048      173,723            -4.4         +1.4
 Flat-rolled  101,450      103,619            -2.1         -0.7
 Extruded      64,598       70,104            -7.9         +4.8
INVENTORY      54,576       51,695            +5.6         +3.8
 Flat-rolled   42,238       39,544            +6.8         +5.6
 Extruded      12,338       12,151            +1.5         -1.8
================================================================

To contact the reporter on this story: Aya Takada in Tokyo at atakada2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net

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