Aluminum Shipments by Japan Decline at Slower Pace in March

Shipments of rolled-aluminum products by Japanese fabricators to domestic and overseas markets decreased at a slower pace in March, supported by demand from beverage-can makers, according to an industry group.

Volume fell 1.5 percent to 171,163 metric tons last month from a year earlier, the Japan Aluminium Association said in a report today. The pace of decline slowed from February’s 8.2 percent rate.

The decrease was led by the auto sector as vehicle sales in Japan declined 11.3 percent in March because of an end to subsidy payments by the government to buyers of fuel-efficient models. The weakness was partially offset by 4.9 percent growth in demand for flat-rolled products from beverage-can makers.

The association expects shipments for the year through March will expand 3.2 percent to 2.02 million tons, the highest level in three years, as a weak yen boosts exports, while Japan’s fiscal and monetary stimulus boosts demand from builders.

Members of the association include Furukawa-Sky Aluminum Corp., Kobe Steel Ltd. and Nippon Light Metal Co. Details of output, shipments and inventories for February are as follows:

================================================================
             March 2013            Month/Month   Year/Year
================================================================
                                       (%)          (%)
OUTPUT        170,075                +10.6         -1.7
 Flat-rolled  104,411                +13.6         +0.3
 Extruded      65,664                 +6.2         -4.7
SHIPMENTS     171,163                 +9.4         -1.5
 Flat-rolled  105,438                +12.1         +1.8
 Extruded      65,725                 +5.4         -6.2
INVENTORY      51,593                 -1.6         -0.2
 Flat-rolled   40,193                 -2.9         +1.6
 Extruded      11,400                 +3.5         -6.2
================================================================
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To contact the reporter on this story:
Aya Takada in Tokyo at 
atakada2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Brett Miller at 
bmiller30@bloomberg.net



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