In FY18, South Korea and Malaysia were the top importers of Indian aluminium with a share of 31 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. Apart from the US, which had a share of 11 per cent, Turkey (9 per cent), Japan (5 per cent), Bangladesh (4 per cent) and Spain (4 per cent) were the other key countries to which Indian aluminium was shipped.
“US import duties are a worry but more disconcerting for the industry is the anticipated flood of aluminium imports especially from China as a result of this levy. Imports already have over 50 per cent share in our aluminium consumption and any growth will force the domestic producers to fall back more on exports”, said a senior executive with an aluminium company.
Indian aluminium exports to the US are minuscule when compared to what the superpower sources from Canada, China and the Middle East. Each year, around 125,000 tonnes are exported to the US, 60 per cent of which are made up by aluminium ingots.
In 2017, US had an aluminium making capacity of 1.8 million tonnes against which it produced 0.78 million tonnes. But, its total aluminium consumption was significantly higher at 5.51 million tonnes of which 5.04 million tonnes were fed by imports.
Canada, Russia, UAE and China together comprise 73 per cent of the total aluminium imports into the US. India’s share in the US aluminium import basket was a meagre two per cent. But, the country aspired to take its share of exports to the US to five per cent in the coming years with a focus on high quality exports through long-term strategic tie-ups.
Indian aluminium exports to the US are valued at $350 million. This means the Indian producers have only 0.8 per cent share to the overall aluminium exports to the US of the order of $42.2 billion.