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Press Release August 2018
22/08/2018

January to June 2018 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to June 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to June was a deficit of 334 kt which follows a deficit of 1025 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Second quarter trade data for China is not available for technical reasons. Demand for primary aluminium for January to June 2018 was 29.94 million tonnes 881 kt less than in the same six months of 2017. Production in January to June 2018 fell by 413 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 110 kt during June and closed at the end of the month 181 kt above the December 2017 level. LME stocks fell by 99 kt during June mostly due to decreases in Malaysia, Singapore and Netherlands. Total stocks at the end of June 2018 were 2527 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 2053 kt at the end of June 2018 which was 110 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 June 2018 by 1.4 per cent compared with the first half of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 16468 kt and this currently accounts for over 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 2.4 per cent lower than in January to June 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 415 kt in June bringing the year to date figure to 2427 kt which is 14 per cent above the comparable figure for 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 0.8 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.2 per cent. EU28 demand was 38 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 2.9 per cent during January to June 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In June 2018, primary aluminium production was 5049.7 kt and consumption was 5057.1 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to June 2018

The copper market recorded a surplus of 114.2 kt in January to June 2018 which follows a surplus of 61 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks rose during January to June and closed 222 kt higher than at the end of December 2017. These increases included net deliveries of 30 kt into LME warehouses in Asia and a further 81 kt into American 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 June 2018 was 10.1 million tonnes which was 3.3 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to June 2018 was 11.68 million tonnes up 2 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 49 kt) and in Chile (up 76 kt).

Global consumption for January to June 2018 was 11.57 million tonnes compared with 11.53 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. WBMS estimates that imports of refined copper into China were about 350 kt in June bringing the year to date figure to 1.86 million tonnes. Chinese estimated demand for January to June 2018 was 5981 kt which was 5% above the previous year’s total and represented over 51% of the global total. EU28 production fell by 1.2 per cent and demand was 1732 kt, 3.6 per cent above the January to June 2017 total.

In June 2018, refined copper production was 1979.1 kt and consumption was 1929.4 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to June 2018

The lead market was in deficit by 88 kt in January to June 2018 which follows a deficit of 404 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of June were 35 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 June 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 5679 kt which was 1.9 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese demand was estimated at 11 kt below the comparable period in 2017 and represented just under 42 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 11 kt for January to June 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In June 2018, refined lead production was 947.8 kt and consumption was 930.2 kt.


Zinc market records surplus in January to June 2018

The zinc market was in surplus by 13 kt during January to June 2018 which compares with a deficit of 483 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 74.4 kt during January to June with a net increase in Shanghai of 13 kt over the period. LME stocks rose by 8.4 kt and 3.6 kt respectively in May and June closing at 249.3 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 33 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses. Second quarter trade data for China is not available for technical reasons.

Global refined production fell by 1.3 per cent and consumption was 4.6 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 263.6 kt, 7 per cent above the equivalent total for January to June 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 319 kt lower than for January to June 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 2968.1 kt which is 45 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In June 2018 slab zinc production was 1079.7 kt and consumption 1102.3 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to June 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to June 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 22 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 76.0 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of June 2018 were 95 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to June 2018 totalled 934.3 kt and demand was 956.1 kt.

Mine production during January to June was 1026.6 kt, 120 kt above the comparable 2017 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 10 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 29 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 84 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In June 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 166.2 kt and consumption was 163.4 kt.


Tin market records surplus in January to June 2018

The tin market recorded a small surplus of 0.2 kt during January to June 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 0.2 kt lower than at the end of 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 5 kt, compared with the January to June 2017 total. Production in Asia was 5.8 kt lower than the January to June 2017 total. Apparent demand in China was 16.8 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to June was 180.6 kt which was 6.7 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 14.8 kt which was 0.4 kt below the comparable total for January to June 2017.

In June 2018 refined production was 30.8 kt and consumption was 30.5 kt


Dated 22nd August 2018


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics August 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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