Japan's aluminum sheet shipments for beverage cans in June stood at 35,157 mt, down 16.8% year on year, the Japan Aluminum Association said Friday.
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Cansheet shipments fell due to weak Japanese beer consumption, and soft demand for aluminum bottles mainly for coffee beverages, the association said.
"Japanese beer consumption has been on a decline for the last few years. Shipment of aluminum bottles [for non-alcoholic beverages] peaked off from last year due to increase of PET bottles. Beverages in steel cans (had) shifted to aluminum and (now) there is a shift to PET bottles," one analyst said.
Beer industry sources said Japanese beer demand was not growing, but there was no double-digit plunge.
The usage of aluminum, which is lighter than steel, is being displaced by PET material, which is roughly 30% lighter. Beverage maker Suntory has also developed fully recyclable PET bottles that appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
Japan shipped 15,400 mt of aluminum sheet to the automotive sector in June, up 1.1% from a year ago.
The shipments included 3000 and 6000 series alloy sheets for lithium ion battery cases. The 3000 series are used for lithium ion cell cases, mounted on electronic gadgets and electric vehicles, while the 6000 series aluminum alloy sheets are used for lithium ion battery package cases, sources said.
One EV typically requires over 30kg of aluminum for the cell cases and 5kg for battery package cases, automotive-maker sources said.
"Since batteries weigh as much as an engine, the rest of the car needs to be lighter. Vehicles remain a strong growth area for aluminum," one source said.
Japan's total aluminum sheet shipments were 105,970 mt in June, down 9.8% year on year.
Japan's extrusion shipments in June were 66,592 mt, down 2% year on year.
The total rolled and extruded products shipped in June was 172,562 mt, down 6.9% year on year.
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--Edited by Norazlina Juma'at, email@example.com