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Press Releas December 2018
13/12/2018

January to October 2018 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to October 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to October was a deficit of 246.4 kt which follows a deficit of 1210 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Chinese trade data is now available up to October 2018. Demand for primary aluminium for January to October 2018 was 49.54 million tonnes 745 kt less than in the same ten months of 2017. Production in January to October 2018 rose by 118 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 40 kt during October and closed at the end of the month fractionally above the December 2017 level. LME stocks rose by 60 kt during October mostly due to increases in Malaysia and Singapore. Total stocks at the end of October 2018 were 2348 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 1869 kt at the end of October 2018 which were 74 kt lower than in December 2017 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 2018 by 0.2 per cent compared with the first ten months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 27714 kt and this currently accounts for 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 1.8 per cent higher than in January to October 2017. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 309 kt during January to October 2018 which compares with 303 kt in the comparable period in 2017. January to October 2018 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 4069 kt which compares with 3194 kt for the first ten months of 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 1.1 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 4.4 per cent. EU28 demand was 110 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 1.5 per cent during January to October 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In October 2018, primary aluminium production was 4849.3 kt and consumption was 4897.8 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to October 2018

The copper market recorded a Surplus of 81 kt in January to October 2018 which follows a surplus of 117.2 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks fell during October and closed 107 kt lower than at the end of December 2017. These decreases included net deliveries of 64 kt out LME warehouses. Asian LME stocks reached a peak for the year so far of 217.8 kt in March 2018. 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 2018 was 17.11 million tonnes which was 0.6 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to October 2018 was 19.56 million tonnes up 0.35 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in Zambia (up 97 kt) and in Chile (up 44 kt).

Global consumption for January to October 2018 was 19.48 million tonnes compared with 19.41 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese trade data for October 2018 has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to October 2018 was 10269 kt which was 5.6 per cent higher than the first ten months of 2017. EU28 production fell by 1.7 per cent and demand was 2826 kt, 0.9 per cent above the January to October 2017 total.

In October 2018, refined copper production was 1996.8 kt and consumption was 1942.7 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to October 2018

The lead market recorded a deficit of 278 kt in January to October 2018 which follows a deficit of 394 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of October were 58 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 October 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 9376 kt which was 0.9 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese trade data has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 4023 kt which was 32 kt below the comparable period in 2017 and represented over 41 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 18 kt for January to October 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In October 2018, refined lead production was 989.0 kt and consumption was 1023.9 kt.


Zinc market records surplus in January to October 2018

The zinc market was in surplus by 146.3 kt during January to October 2018 which compares with a deficit of 431 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks decreased by 91 kt during January to October with a net decrease in Shanghai of 20 kt over the period. LME stocks rose earlier in the year but declined by 58 kt during October to 144.2 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 25 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses. Chinese trade data has just become available after a six-month delay for technical reasons.

Global refined production fell by 2.4 per cent and consumption was 6.6 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 438.4 kt, 9.4 per cent above the equivalent total for January to October 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 774 kt lower than for January to October 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 4917 kt which is 45 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In October 2018 slab zinc production was 1136.6 kt and consumption 1133.8 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to October 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to October 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 10 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 41.3 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of October 2018 were 148 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to October 2018 totalled 1860 kt and demand was 1870 kt.

Mine production during January to October was 1919 kt, 227 kt above the comparable 2017 total. Chinese trade data has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 111 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 102 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 157 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In October 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 211.0 kt and consumption was 203.1 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to September 2018

The tin market recorded a deficit of 6.3 kt during January to October 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 3.6 kt, compared with the January to October 2017 total. Production in Asia was 0.7 kt lower than the January to October 2017 total. Chinese trade data has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Apparent demand in China was 16 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to October was 308 kt which was 3.9 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 23.7 kt which was 0.5 kt below the comparable total for January to October 2017.

In October 2018 refined production was 30.2 kt and consumption was 30.4 kt


Dated 13th December 2018


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics December 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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