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Press Release May 2018
16/05/2018

January to March 2018 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to March 2018




The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to March was a deficit of 141 kt
which follows a deficit of 1130 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Demand for primary aluminium for
January to March 2018 was 14.9 million tonnes 343 kt less than in the samequarter months of 2017.
Production in January to March 2018 fell by 10 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer
stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 272 kt during February and by a
further 85 kt in March. The increases included net deliveries into the Malaysian LME warehouses of
258 kt. Total stocks at the end of March 2018 were 2719 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 2312 kt
at the end of March 2018 which was 373 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 March 2018 by 0.1 per cent compared with the first
quarter of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 8119 kt and this currently accounts for about 55
per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 1.5 per cent lower than in
January to March 2017. Chinese net exports were 103 kt in January to March and net exports of
unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2017 were 365 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures
from China rose from 858 kt in January to March 2017 to 1043 kt in the first quarter of 2018.

Production in the EU28 was 1.4 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.3
per cent. EU28 demand was 22 kt lower than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 2.3 per
cent during January to March 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In March 2018, primary aluminium production was 5013.4 kt and consumption was 5085.1 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to March 2018





























The copper market recorded a deficit of 158 kt in January to March 2018 which follows a deficit of
235 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks rose during January and March and closed 302 kt higher
than at the end of December 2017. These increases included net deliveries of 124 kt into LME
warehouses in Asia and a further 41 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 March 2018 was 4.9 million tonnes which was 3.9 per cent higher
than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to March 2018 was 5.8
million tonnes up 3.1 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded
in China (up 74 kt) and in Chile (up 25 kt).

Global consumption for January to March 2018 was 6.0 million tonnes compared with 5.7 million
tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese apparent consumption in January to March rose by 464 kt
to 3136 kt compared to the same months of 2017 and represented just over 52 per cent of global
demand. EU28 production fell by 1.2 per cent and demand was 852 kt, 4.3 per cent above the January
to March 2017 total.

In March 2018, refined copper production was 1962.7 kt and consumption was 2071.1 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to March 2018
















































The lead market was in deficit by 60 kt in January to March 2018 which follows a deficit of 421 kt
recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of March were 27 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 March 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was
2915 kt which was 3.8 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese demand was 35
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 6 kt for January to March 2018
compared to the same months of 2017.

In March 2018, refined lead production was 975.9 kt and consumption was 1013.6 kt.




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Zinc market records surplus in January to March 2018










The zinc market was in surplus by 176 kt during January to March 2018 which compares with a deficit
of 485 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 116 kt
during January to March mostly in Shanghai. LME stocks fell by 47.5 kt in the first two months
of the year but rose in March closing at 213 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME
stocks represent 27 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US
warehouses. Chinese demand decreased by 2.0 per cent compared with the previous year.
Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 4.1 per cent compared with 2017. Chinese
imports of mostly special high grade metal were 34.8 kt in March which brought the year to date
figure to 139.8 kt, 81.8 kt higher than in January to March 2017.

Global refined production fell by 0.3 per cent and consumption was 6.8 per cent lower than the
levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 138.1 kt, 10.8 per cent above
the equivalent total for January to March 2017. The March figure was higher than usual due to a
decline on 9.3 kt in producer stocks at the end of the Japanese fiscal year.

World demand was 230 kt lower than for January to March 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 1474.3 kt
which is just under 47 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption
calculation for unreported stock changes.

In March 2018 slab zinc production was 1115.5 kt and consumption 1021.1 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to March 2018
































The Nickel market was in deficit during January to March 2018 with apparent demand exceeding
production by 32 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 96.0 kt. Reported stocks held
in the LME at the end of March 2018 were 46 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined
production in January to March 2018 totalled 422.7 kt and demand was 454.7 kt.

Mine production during January to March was 438.8 kt, 43 kt above the comparable 2017 total.
Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 16 kt compared with 2017
and apparent demand was 29 kt higher than in the previous year due to reduced imports of ferro
nickel from Indonesia.

World apparent demand was 32 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made
in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In March 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 148.9 kt and consumption was 156.2 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to March 2018


















































The tin market recorded a deficit of 2.5 kt during January to March 2018 and there were no DLA
deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 0.7 kt lower than at the end of 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 4 kt, compared with the January to
March 2017 total. Production in Asia was 3.7 kt lower than the January to March 2017 total.
Apparent demand in China was 17 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to March was 91.3 kt which was 6.1 per cent below the comparable
period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 7.9 kt which was 4.4 per cent higher than the comparable
total for January to March 2017.

In March 2018 refined production was 31.1 kt and consumption was 31.3 kt Dated 15th May 2018
- ENDS-
















The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics May 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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