Satish Pai, MD of Hindalco believes that 2019 is going to be a tough year for metals and commodities, with the US and China showing no sign of easing trade tensions. Pai said, “There was an expectation that by the second half of the year, some sort of a compromise would be found and that the commodities market and metals, in general, would pick up.”
“That latter part of the pickup that we were expecting in the sense of the US-China trade wars being sorted out, have not happened. So, if you look at worldwide demand for metals, it is flat right now. So, there is not much growth," he added.
On the one-time plastic ban and aluminium being a better option, he said, “We took people from the Brazilian government to meet Niti Aayog on this topic because Brazil is a country that recycles a lot of more aluminium from cans and metals in general than this.”
“Many countries in the world have started to ban single-use plastic and in general plastic in the forms like pet bottles. The natural replacement normally has been aluminium and the reason it has been aluminium is that the cost-benefit, which is always important, works in the case of aluminium. We are trying to promote that with cans in India as well to move away from plastic or bottles,” he added.
Amount of aluminium used in packaging is 20,000 tonne a year, said Pai. “This sector, even though we are seeing a slowdown in many other sectors, this sector is growing at about 20-25 percent as a growth rate. So, there is a huge pickup that is happening in India for using aluminium foil and semi-rigid containers,” he added.