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Press Release Feb Balances 2018
18/04/2018

January to February 2018 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to February 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to February was a deficit of 223 kt which follows a deficit of 1103 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Demand for primary aluminium for January to February 2018 was 9.9 million tonnes 210 kt less than in the first two months of 2017. Production in January to February 2018 fell by 139 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 18 kt during January and by a further 313 kt in February. The February increase included net deliveries into the Malaysian LME warehouses of 255 kt. Total stocks at the end of February 2018 were 2633 kt which compares with 2346 kt at the end of 2017. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 2200 kt at the end of February 2018 which was 257 kt above the December 2017 total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for large unreported stock changes especially those held in Asia.

Overall, global production fell in January to February 2018 by 1.4 per cent compared with the first two months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 5331 kt and this currently accounts for about 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 3.5 per cent lower than in January to February 2017. Chinese net exports were 67 kt in January to February and net exports of unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2017 were 365 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures from China rose from 527 kt in January to February 2017 to 664 kt in the first two months of 2018.

Production in the EU28 was 1.3 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.3 per cent. EU28 demand was 66 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 2.0 per cent during January to February 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In February 2018, primary aluminium production was 4803.0 kt and consumption was 4866.1 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to February 2018

The copper market recorded a deficit of 10 kt in January to February 2018 which follows a deficit of 263 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks rose during January and February and closed 221 kt higher than at the end of December 2017. These increases included net deliveries of 101 kt into LME warehouses in Asia and a further 20 kt into Dutch LME warehouses. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes, particularly in the Chinese government stockpile.

World mine production in January to February 2018 was 3.3 million tonnes which was 5.3 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to February 2018 was 3.9 million tonnes up 5.2 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 110 kt) and in Chile (up 19 kt).

Global consumption for January to February 2018 was 3.9 million tonnes compared with 3.6 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese apparent consumption in January to February rose by 355 kt to 2035 kt compared to the same months of 2017 and represented just over 52 per cent of global demand. EU28 production rose by 0.1 per cent and demand was 542 kt, 0.8 per cent above the January to February 2017 total.

In February 2018, refined copper production was 1929.8 kt and consumption was 1943.7 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to February 2018

The lead market was in deficit by 35 kt in January to February 2018 which follows a deficit of 418 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of February were 22 kt lower than at the end of 2017. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

World refined production during January to February 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 1938 kt which was 4.8 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese demand was 51 kt above the comparable period in 2017 and represented just under 43 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 10 kt for January to February 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In February 2018, refined lead production was 964.2 kt and consumption was 990.2 kt.




Zinc market records surplus in January to February 2018

The zinc market was in surplus by 86 kt during January to February 2018 which compares with a deficit of 486 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 19 kt during January and February mostly in Shanghai. LME stocks fell by 47.5 kt in the first two months of the year and closed at 134 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent just under 20 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand increased by 5.2 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 2.3 per cent compared with 2017. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 38 kt in February which brought the year to date figure to 104.8 kt, 72.5 kt higher than in January to February 2017.

Global refined production rose by 0.2 per cent and consumption was 2.4 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 82.4 kt, 1.9 per cent above the equivalent total for January to February 2017.

World demand was 54 kt lower than for January to February 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 1014.3 kt which is just over 47 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In February 2018 slab zinc production was 1111.8 kt and consumption 1042.1 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to February 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to February 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 24 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 96.1 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of February 2018 were 31 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to February 2018 totalled 286.0 kt and demand was 310.2 kt.

Mine production during January to February was 303.0 kt, 44 kt above the comparable 2017 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 4 kt compared with 2017and apparent demand was 13 kt higher than in the previous year due to reduced imports of Nickel metal from Russia.

World apparent demand was 35 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In February 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 138.8 kt and consumption was 141.9 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to February 2018

The tin market recorded a deficit of 1.3 kt during January to February 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were unchanged from the level recorded at the end of December 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 2 kt, compared with the January to February 2018 total. Production in Asia was 2.6 kt lower than the January to February 2017 total. Apparent demand in China was 20 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to February was 59.3 kt which was 6.3 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 5.5 kt which was 2.4 per cent higher than the comparable total for January to February 2017.

In February 2017, refined production was 28.5 kt and consumption was 27.6 kt


Dated 18th April 2018


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics April 2018 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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