Aluminum Shipments by Japan Steady in August, Group Says

Shipments of rolled-aluminum products by Japanese fabricators to domestic and overseas markets were little changed in August, an industry group said.

Volume was 148,988 metric tons last month from 148,920 tons a year earlier, the Japan Aluminium Association said in a report today. Higher demand from builders in August was offset by a drop in sales to carmakers and lower exports, it said. The shipments expanded 4.3 percent in July.

Shipments to the construction sector, the largest user in Japan, expanded 3.9 percent to 43,240 tons as consumers rushed to buy homes before a sales-tax increase planned for April, said Koji Iida, head of statistics at the Tokyo-based association.

Demand from automakers dropped 6.1 percent as car sales slowed after the government ended subsidy payments to buyers of fuel-efficient models. Exports also fell 7.8 percent on slower demand from China and Southeast Asian countries, he said.

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

             August 2013           Month/Month   Year/Year
                                       (%)          (%)
OUTPUT        142,141                -20.6         -1.4
 Flat-rolled   80,703                -23.7         -2.1
 Extruded      61,438                -16.2         -0.4
SHIPMENTS     148,988                -17.0          0.0
 Flat-rolled   86,768                -17.1         -0.3
 Extruded      62,220                -16.9         +0.5
INVENTORY      50,896                -11.6         +1.1
 Flat-rolled   40,251                -13.3         +0.8
 Extruded      10,645                 -4.5         +2.2
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