The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated global metals demand as one of the main end uses, automotive applications, has seen major disruptions to the supply chain.
The US metals market, in particular, saw the removal of an estimated 33,000 vehicles per day from production as all major auto producers across the country halted operations in response to government mandates and concerns over the welfare of workers.
Because the transportation sector is the largest end user of aluminum, accounting for around 35% of aluminum consumption, it is easy to see why so many market participants expressed concern over the lingering effects coronavirus would have on the health of the industry.
Domestic aluminum producers, including rolling mills and billet remelters, saw a notable drop in demand, and in response halted production intermittently, or were running at reduced capacity, in some cases as little as 30%-40%, or a combination of both.
The index of net new orders for aluminum mill products published by the Aluminum Association showed total demand in May down 27.6% year on year. Foil orders were off 30.3% from May last year while extruded products were down 38.7%.
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