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WMS Press Release December 2017
13/12/2017

January to October 2017 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to October 2017

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to October 2017 was a deficit of 1434 kt which follows a deficit of 770 kt recorded for the whole of 2016. Demand for primary aluminium for January to October 2017 was 50.22 million tonnes 1703 kt more than the first ten months of 2016. Production in January to October 2017 rose by 947 kt compared with 2016. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 30 kt during October and at the end of the month were 2249 kt which equated to 14 days 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 1848 kt at the end of October 2017 which was 477 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 October 2017 by 2 per cent compared with the first ten months of 2016. Chinese output was estimated at 27230 kt and this currently accounts for just under 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 4.0 per cent higher than 2016. Chinese net exports were 303 kt in January to October and net exports of unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2016 were 255 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures from China rose from 3082 kt in January to October 2016 to 3194 kt in the first ten months of 2017.

Production in the EU28 was unchanged from the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 2.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 113 kt higher than the comparable 2016 total. Global demand rose by 3.5 per cent during January to October compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In October 2017, primary aluminium production was 4763.5 kt and consumption was 4799.1 kt.

Copper market records tiny surplus in January to October 2017

The copper market recorded a surplus of 5.7 kt in January to October 2017 which follows a deficit of 102 kt in the whole of 2016. Reported stocks rose during October and closed 57 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 October 2017 was 16.87 million tonnes which was 0.2 per cent lower than in the same period in 2016. Global refined production for January to October 2017 was 19.49 million tonnes up 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 394 kt) and a reduction in Chile (down 180 kt).

Global consumption for January to October 2017 was 19.49 million tonnes compared with 19.57 million tonnes for the same months of 2016. Chinese apparent consumption in January to October 2017 rose by 35 kt to 9682 kt compared to the same months of 2016 and represented just under 50 per cent of global demand. EU28 production rose by 3 per cent and demand was 2848 kt, 0.7 per cent below the January to October 2016 total.

In October 2017, refined copper production was 1982.5 kt and consumption was 1917.6 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to October 2017

The lead market was in deficit by 376 kt in January to October 2017 which follows a deficit of 154 kt recorded in the whole of 2016. Total stocks at the end of October were 63 kt lower than at the end of 2016. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

World refined production during January to October 2017 from both primary and secondary sources was 9724 kt which was 9.1 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2016. Chinese demand was 699 kt above the comparable period in 2016 and represented just over 42 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 288 kt for January to October 2017 compared to the first ten months of 2016.

In October 2017, refined lead production was 977.7 kt and consumption was 1004.7 kt.




Zinc market records deficit in January to October 2017

The zinc market was in deficit by 504 kt during January to October 2017 which compares with a deficit of 202 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 7.8 kt during October. LME stocks rose by 0.8 kt in October and ended the month 174 kt lower than at the end of 2016. LME stocks represent just under 35 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand increased by 0.8 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 2.2 per cent compared with 2016. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 61 kt in October which brought the year to date figure to 453 kt, 77 kt higher than in January to October 2016.

Global refined production rose by 0.1 per cent and consumption was 2.5 per cent higher than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 444 kt, 14.3 per cent above the equivalent total for January to October 2016.

World demand was 288 kt higher than for January to October 2016. Chinese apparent demand was 5575 kt which is almost 47 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In October 2017 slab zinc production was 1230.7 kt and consumption 1236.8 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to October 2017

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to October 2017 with apparent demand exceeding production by 49.9 kt. In the whole of 2016 the calculated deficit was 68.2 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of October 2017 were 9.4 kt higher than at the end of the previous year with most of the increases recorded in Asia. Refined production in January to October 2017 totalled 1500.8 kt and demand was 1550.7 kt.

Mine production during January to October was 1665.0 kt, 93 kt above the comparable 2016 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output decreased by 12 kt compared with 2016 and apparent demand was 143 kt lower than in the previous year due to reduced imports of Nickel metal from Russia.

World apparent demand was 65 kt lower than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In October 2017, nickel smelter/refinery production was 169.7 kt and consumption was 172.7 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to October 2017

The tin market recorded a deficit of 10.5 kt during January to October 2017 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks fell by 6.5 kt during October and ended the period 3.6 kt lower than December 2016.

Global reported production of refined metal was up by 20 kt, compared with January to October 2016 total. Production in Asia was 20.1 kt higher than the January to October 2016 total. Apparent demand in China was 5.4 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to October 2017 was 315.4 kt which was 0.31 per cent below the comparable period of 2016. Japanese consumption was 24.0 kt which was 8.0 per cent higher than the comparable total for 2016.

In October 2017, refined production was 29.8 kt and consumption was 34.4 kt


Dated 13th December 2017


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics December 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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