Packaging giant Rexam has said that trading for 2008 remains in line with expectations, despite a slowdown in the US soft drinks sector.

Beverage can volumes have remained strong in South America and have grown throughout most of Europe, Rexam said in a trading statement today (18 November).

It said full-year results have been boosted by favourable currency rates and that its outlook for 2008 was unchanged.

The firm was cautious on its outlook for 2009, however. CEO Leslie Van de Walle said: "Rexam is a defensive and resilient company, but it is not yet clear how the economic downturn will affect our trading in 2009.

"We will continue to manage stringently those levers over which we do have control, including a rigorous focus on efficiencies and cost reductions."

The US soft drinks sector appears to be a particular cause for concern. Rexam said that weakness in this sector caused a decline in third quarter can volumes in North America. The group announced in July that it would reduce US capacity by 9% to reflect lower demand.

The group added that it would look to curtail spending: "We had been planning for a significant reduction in 2009 capital expenditure, and in light of the current economic environment we are further reviewing our spend for next year."