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WBMS Press Release July 2017
19/07/2017

January to May 2017 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to May 2017

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to May 2017 was a deficit of 735 kt which follows a deficit of 1097 kt recorded for the whole of 2016. Demand for primary aluminium for January to May 2017 was 25.34 million tonnes 1614 kt more than the first five months of 2016. Production in January to May 2017 rose by 1371 kt compared with 2016. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 123 kt during May and at the end of the month were 2347 kt which equated to 15 daysí demand and compares with 2761 kt at the end of 2016. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 1920 kt at the end of May 2017 which was 404 kt below the December 2016 total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for large unreported stock changes especially those held in Asia.

Overall, global production rose in January to May 2017 by 5.9 per cent compared with the first five months of 2016. Chinese output was estimated at 13856 kt and this currently accounts for over 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 9.4 per cent higher than 2016. Chinese net exports were 129 kt in January to May and net exports of unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2016 were 255 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures from China rose from 1531 kt in January to May 2016 to 1590 kt in the first five months of 2017.

Production in the EU28 fell by 1.5 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 3.8 per cent. EU28 demand was 69 kt higher than the comparable 2016 total. Global demand rose by 6.8 per cent during January to May compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In May 2017, primary aluminium production was 5036.9 kt and consumption was 5082.5 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to May 2017

The copper market recorded a deficit of 65 kt in January to May 2017 which follows a deficit of 69 kt in the whole of 2016. Reported stocks rose during May and closed 125 kt higher than at the end of December 2016. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes, particularly in the Chinese government stockpile.

World mine production in January to May 2017 was 8.3 million tonnes which was 0.7 per cent lower than in the same period in 2016. Global refined production for January to May 2017 was 9.61 million tonnes up 0.4 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 241 kt) and a reduction in Chile (down 150 kt).

Global consumption for January to May 2017 was 9.68 million tonnes compared with 9.83 million tonnes for the same months of 2016. Chinese apparent consumption in January to May 2017 fell by 253 kt to 4665 kt compared to the same months of 2016 and represented just over 48 per cent of global demand. EU28 production rose by 4.4 per cent and demand was 1408, 4.7 per cent below the January to May 2016 total.

In May 2017, refined copper production was 1962.5 kt and consumption was 2025.5 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to May 2017

The lead market was in deficit by 172 kt in January to May 2017 which follows a deficit of 172 kt recorded in the whole of 2016. Total stocks at the end of May were 29 kt higher than at the end of 2016. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

World refined production during January to May 2017 from both primary and secondary sources was 4909 kt which was 12.3 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2016. Global demand was 658 kt higher. Apparent consumption in China totalled 2130 kt of lead in January to May 2017 which was 451 kt above the comparable period in 2016 and represented almost 42 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 176 kt for January to May 2017 compared to the first five months of 2016.

In May 2017, refined lead production was 966.8 kt and consumption was 1012.5 kt.




Zinc market records deficit in January to May 2017

The zinc market was in deficit by 181 kt during January to May 2017 which compares with a deficit of 236 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks fell by 53 kt during May. LME stocks fell by 18 kt in May and ended the month 98 kt lower than at the end of 2016. LME stocks represent 39 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand fell by 0.6 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 1.3 per cent compared with 2016. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 33 kt in May which brought the year to date figure to 139 kt, 121 kt lower than in January to May 2016.

Global refined production rose by 1.5 per cent and consumption was 2.5 per cent higher than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 216 kt, 13% above the equivalent total for January to May 2016.

World demand was 140 kt higher than for January to May 2016. Chinese apparent demand was 2643 kt which is 46 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In May 2017 slab zinc production was 1093.1 kt and consumption 1141.8 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to May 2017

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to May 2017 with apparent demand exceeding production by 54.3 kt. In the whole of 2016 the calculated deficit was 62 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of May 2017 were 12.9 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to May 2017 totalled 673.2 kt and demand was 727.4 kt.

Mine production during January to May was 715 kt, 85 kt below the comparable 2016 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output decreased by 26 kt compared with 2016 and apparent demand was 119 kt lower than in the previous year due to reduced imports of Nickel metal from Russia.

World apparent demand was 47 kt lower than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In May 2017, nickel smelter/refinery production was 145.5 kt and consumption was 162.0 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to May 2017

The tin market recorded a deficit of 7.5 kt during January to May 2017 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks rose by 0.6 kt during May and ended the period 0.1 kt higher than December 2016.

Global reported production of refined metal was up by 12 kt, compared with January to May 2016 total. Production in Asia was 13.3 kt higher than the January to May 2016 total. Apparent demand in China was 6.8 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to May 2017 was 161.6 kt which was 2.6 per cent above the comparable period of 2016. Japanese consumption was 12.5 kt which was 16 per cent higher than the comparable total for 2016.

In May 2017, refined production was 30.7 kt and consumption was 32.4 kt


Dated 19th July 2017


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics July 2017 published today.

Editors requiring more detailed information should contact Sue Eales by email at suee@world-bureau.co.uk or by telephone +44 (0) 1920 461274




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Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information contained in this release WBMS and its Board of Directors can accept no responsibility for any losses incurred as a direct result of any actions based on conclusions drawn from the data.

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