OSLO Jan 9 Norwegian aluminium maker Norsk
Hydro maintained its outlook for primary aluminium
demand this year, even as rival Alcoa released a bullish
projection a day earlier, its top executive said on Wednesday.
"We haven't changed our position for the future growth of
aluminium," Chief Executive Richard Brandtzaeg told Reuters on
the sidelines of an industry conference.
The company said it estimates the market outside China could
grow 2-4 percent this year after last year's 2 percent rise as
demand recovers, producers reduce capacity, and bloated stock
levels are reduced.
U.S. rival Alcoa, which is usually more bullish on market
prospects than Hydro, said on Tuesday it was cautiously
optimistic demand for the metal will continue to grow in 2013,
and estimated growth at 7 percent.
"Of course the aluminium industry in general has been in a
tough situation and there have been weak aluminium prices, but
we also see that, as growth continues and there is less capacity
coming on stream, I'm cautiously optimistic about the medium
term," Brandtzaeg said.
"We see that the aluminium demand in the U.S is growing,
there is a positive development, contrary to what we see in
Europe," he added.
He said that the market in southern Europe had continued to
be weak at the start of the year.
"We have no reason to say that the development has turned,
but it is also too soon to say whether 2013 will be better or
worse than 2012," Brandtzaeg said.
Hydro shares rose 0.8 percent on the Oslo bourse on
Wednesday, ahead of the benchmark's 0.4 percent rise.