Unwrought aluminum exports by country totaled US$61.2 billion in 2018, up by 15.2% for all aluminum-shipping nations over the five-year period starting in 2014. Year over year, the value of exported aluminum appreciated by 11% from 2017 to 2018.
Spelled aluminium by British writers, aluminum is the world’s most widely used non-iron and non-steel metal and is the basic ingredient for a wide range of recyclable products. The latter includes beverage cans, construction materials and transport vehicles. Silvery-white in color, pure aluminum is non-magnetic and is also notable for its low density, relatively light weight and resistance to corrosion.
Among continents, European countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of exported aluminum during 2018 with shipments valued at $25.1 billion or 41% of the global total. In second place were Asian exporters at 34.6% while 13.1% of worldwide aluminum shipments originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from Oceania (6.5%) led by Australia, Africa (3.8%) then Latin America (1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for raw aluminum is 7601.
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of aluminum during 2018.
- Canada: US$6.5 billion (10.5% of total aluminum exports)
- Netherlands: $6.3 billion (10.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: $6.26 billion (10.2%)
- Russia: $5.3 billion (8.7%)
- India: $3.8 billion (6.2%)
- Australia: $3.24 billion (5.3%)
- Norway: $3.2 billion (5.2%)
- Malaysia: $2.3 billion (3.8%)
- Iceland: $1.8 billion (2.9%)
- Bahrain: $1.53 billion (2.5%)
- United States: $1.51 billion (2.5%)
- Qatar: $1.4 billion (2.3%)
- Saudi Arabia: $1.23 billion (2%)
- China: $1.22 billion (2%)
- Germany: $1.12 billion (1.8%)
The listed 15 countries shipped 76.2% of global aluminum exports in 2018 by value.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing aluminum exporters since 2014 were: Bahrain (up 620.8%), India (up 181.9%), Malaysia (up 110.4%) and United Arab Emirates (up 71.6%).
Four of these leading countries posted declines in their exported aluminum sales namely: Qatar (down -52.7%), China (down -15.1%), Saudi Arabia (down -5.6%) and Australia (down -3%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for aluminum during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported aluminum and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- United Arab Emirates: US$6.2 billion (net export surplus up 75.5% since 2014)
- Canada: $5.9 billion (up 9.7%)
- Russia: $5.3 billion (up 3.8%)
- Australia: $3.1 billion (down -2.6%)
- India: $3 billion (up 423.9%)
- Norway: $2.5 billion (up 2.9%)
- Iceland: $1.8 billion (up 19.1%)
- Bahrain: $1.5 billion (up 640.7%)
- Qatar: $1.4 billion (down -52.7%)
- Saudi Arabia: $1.2 billion (down -1%)
- South Africa: $1 billion (down -3.3%)
- Malaysia: $783.1 million (up 128.8%)
- China: $766.8 million (up 11.4%)
- New Zealand: $705.9 million (up 4.9%)
- Kazakhstan: $503.5 million (up 46.5%)
Overtaking Canada in 2018, the United Arab Emirates has the highest surplus in the international trade of aluminum. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms the strong UAE global competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for aluminum during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported aluminum purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- United States: -US$8.8 billion (net export deficit up 47% since 2014)
- Japan: -$6.3 billion (up 3.6%)
- Germany: -$5 billion (down -5.1%)
- South Korea: -$2.8 billion (down -10.5%)
- Turkey: -$2.4 billion (up 0.5%)
- Mexico: -$2.3 billion (up 48.9%)
- Italy: -$2.2 billion (up 35.4%)
- Thailand: -$1.6 billion (up 50.4%)
- Taiwan: -$1.3 billion (up 10.9%)
- Poland: -$1.1 billion (up 104.1%)
- France: -$812.1 million (up 2.6%)
- Spain: -$743.3 million (up 504.1%)
- Austria: -$677.4 million (up 84.8%)
- Belgium: -$617.5 million (up 23.2%)
- Vietnam: -$606.6 million (down -9.2%)
United States incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of aluminum in 2018. America’s negative trade balance for aluminum was 47% higher in 2018 than the -$6 billion in red ink five years earlier in 2014.
These negative cashflows highlight America’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category and conversely signals opportunities for aluminum-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Aluminum Exporting Companies
Below are global aluminum-processing conglomerates that represent established players engaged in the international trade of aluminum. The home country for each selected aluminum producer or rolling company is shown within parenthesis.
- Alcoa (United States)
- Alumina Limited (Australia)
- Chalco (China)
- Emirates Global Aluminium (United Arab Emirates)
- Hindalco Industries (India)
- Norsk Hydro ASA (Norway)
- United Company RUSAL (Russia)