NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 10/19/11 -- Aluminum prices have fallen approximately 10 percent this year amid concerns that the global economic slowdown may cut demand for raw materials. While that number may be alarming, ten percent is the smallest drop among the six industrial metals traded on the London Metal Exchange. Aluminum demand remains fairly strong as more of the metal is used in electronics, cans and transportation and construction. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Aluminum industry and provides equity research on Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE: AA) and Century Aluminum Co. (NASDAQ: CENX). Access to the full company reports can be found at:
According to researcher CRU, Aluminum will have the biggest annual demand increase among industrial metals through 2015 as its surplus turns to a shortage. The researcher argues that consumption will outpace supply in 2015 as demand grows an average 7.6 percent a year.
Aluminum has been taking on a bigger role in electronics products as designers have started to use more environmentally friendly materials. Industry experts explain that the metal is easily recycled with no loss in quality. Moreover, the push by automotive and aerospace companies to create lighter and consequently more fuel efficient vehicles has also helped to bolster demand for lightweight aluminum. Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery said Aluminum's density is one-third that of steel.
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Last week Alcoa announced that third quarter net income rose to $172 million, or 15 cents a share, from $61 million, or 6 cents, a year earlier. Sales increased 21 percent to $6.4 billion, beating the $6.23 average of nine analyst estimates. Chairman and Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said he sees stable prices in the near future for the raw materials used in making aluminum. Kleinfeld is blaming falling aluminum prices on negative bets from the financial industry.
Better demand helped companies like Century Aluminum increase second quarter shipments. Century shipped roughly 334 million pounds in the quarter compared to 319 million pounds in the prior year period.
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