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WMS Press Release
20/06/2018

January to April 2018 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in slight deficit in January to April 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to April was a deficit of 91 kt which follows a deficit of 1022 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. April trade data for China is not available for technical reasons. Demand for primary aluminium for January to April 2018 was 19.77 million tonnes 489 kt less than in the same four months of 2017. Production in January to April 2018 fell by 51 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 112 kt during March and by a further 17 kt in April. The increases included net deliveries into the Malaysian LME warehouses of 208 kt. Total stocks at the end of April 2018 were 2757 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 2328 kt at the end of April 2018 which was 440 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 April 2018 by 0.3 per cent compared with the first four months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 10891 kt and this currently accounts for about 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 1.0 per cent lower than in January to April 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. WBMS estimates that exports of aluminium semi manufactures by China were 390 kt in April bringing the year to date figure to 1527 kt which is 34% higher than the comparable period in 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 1.3 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 39 kt lower than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 2.4 per cent during January to April 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In April 2018, primary aluminium production was 4966.7 kt and consumption was 4954.5 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to April 2018

The copper market recorded a deficit of 213 kt in January to April 2018 which follows a deficit of 235 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks rose during January and April and closed 262 kt higher than at the end of December 2017. These increases included net deliveries of 65 kt into LME warehouses in Asia and a further 30 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 April 2018 was 6.7 million tonnes which was 4.7 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to April 2018 was 7.77 million tonnes up 2.9 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 128 kt) and in Chile (up 51 kt).

Global consumption for January to April 2018 was 7.99 million tonnes compared with 7.64 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. WBMS estimates that imports of refined copper into China rose to about 340 kt in April bringing the year to date figure to 1193 kt which is 18% above the comparable total for 2017.Chinese estimated demand for January to April 2018 was 4262 kt which was 17% above the previous year’s total and represented over 53% of the global total. EU28 production fell by 1.0 per cent and demand was 1139 kt, 4.6 per cent above the January to April 2017 total.

In April 2018, refined copper production was 1952.2 kt and consumption was 2047.3 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to April 2018

The lead market was in deficit by 116 kt in January to April 2018 which follows a deficit of 412 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of April were 25 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 April 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 38474 kt which was 3.3 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese demand was 62 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 16 kt for January to April 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In April 2018, refined lead production was 925.7 kt and consumption was 987.8 kt.




Zinc market records surplus in January to April 2018

The zinc market was in surplus by 143 kt during January to April 2018 which compares with a deficit of 486 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 90 kt during January to April with a net increase in Shanghai of 39 kt over the period. LME stocks rose by 79.4 kt and 24.5 kt respectively in March and April closing at 237.3 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 31 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses. April trade data for China is not available for technical reasons.

Global refined production rose by 1.3 per cent and consumption was 5.3 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 170.1 kt, 3.1 per cent above the equivalent total for January to April 2017. The March figure was higher than usual due to a decline of 9.3 kt in producer stocks at the end of the Japanese fiscal year.

World demand was 243 kt lower than for January to April 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 1950.8 kt which is just under 45 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In April 2018 slab zinc production was 1123.6 kt and consumption 1071.5 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to April 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to April 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 43 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 96.0 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of April 2018 were 59.8 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to April 2018 totalled 569.1 kt and demand was 612.5 kt.

Mine production during January to April was 609.6 kt, 47 kt above the comparable 2017 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 21 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 35 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 48 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In April 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 149.6 kt and consumption was 162.2 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to April 2018

The tin market recorded a deficit of 4.3 kt during January to April 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 0.1 kt higher than at the end of 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 4 kt, compared with the January to April 2017 total. Production in Asia was 3.6 kt lower than the January to April 2017 total. Apparent demand in China was 13 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to April was 124.0 kt which was 4.4 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 10.1 kt which was the same as the comparable total for January to April 2017.

In April 2018 refined production was 31.0 kt and consumption was 30.8 kt


Dated 20th June 2018


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics June 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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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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