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Press Release January 2019
16/01/2019

January to November 2018 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to November 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to November was a deficit of 561.6 kt which follows a deficit of 1210 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Chinese trade data is now available up to November 2018. Demand for primary aluminium for January to November 2018 was 54.918 million tonnes 6 kt more than in the same eleven months of 2017. Production in January to November 2018 rose by 675 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 104 kt during November and closed at the end of the month 102 kt below the December 2017 level. Total LME stocks rose fractionally during November but stocks in Malaysia rose by 53 kt but other stocks in Asia declined. Total stocks at the end of November 2018 were 2244 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 1786 kt at the end of November 2018 which were 157 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 November 2018 by 1.3 per cent compared with the first eleven months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 31448 kt and this currently accounts for 58 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 6.6 per cent higher than in January to November 2017. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 341 kt during January to November 2018 which compares with 335 kt in the comparable period in 2017. January to November 2018 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 4252 kt which compares with 3486 kt for the first eleven months of 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 0.2 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 3.8 per cent. EU28 demand was 147 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand was virtually unchanged during January to November 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In November 2018, primary aluminium production was 4989.0 kt and consumption was 5019.9 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to November 2018

The copper market recorded a surplus of 54 kt in January to November 2018 which follows a surplus of 120.2 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks fell during November and closed 165 kt lower than at the end of December 2017. These decreases included net deliveries of 2.5 kt out of 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 November 2018 was 18.94 million tonnes which was 2.6 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to November 2018 was 21.51 million tonnes up 1.0 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in Zambia (up 97 kt) and in Chile (up 45 kt).

Global consumption for January to November 2018 was 21.45 million tonnes compared with 21.26 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese trade data for November 2018 has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to November 2018 was 11311 kt which was 6.5 per cent higher than the first eleven months of 2017. EU28 production fell by 1.4 per cent and demand was 3108 kt, 0.2 per cent above the January to November 2017 total.

In November 2018, refined copper production was 1988.5 kt and consumption was 1997.4 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to November 2018

The lead market recorded a deficit of 203 kt in January to November 2018 which follows a deficit of 386 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of November were 67 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 November 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 10503 kt which was 2.5 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 4541 kt which was 168 kt higher than the comparable period in 2017 and represented over 42 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 23 kt for January to November 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In November 2018, refined lead production was 1019.1 kt and consumption was 1061.9 kt.


Zinc market records surplus in January to November 2018

The zinc market was in surplus by 65.1 kt during January to November 2018 which compares with a deficit of 438 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks decreased by 146 kt during January to November with a net decrease in Shanghai of 33.8 kt over the period. LME stocks rose earlier in the year but declined by 31.6 kt during November to 112.6 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 22 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses.

Global refined production fell by 2.6 per cent and consumption was 6.1 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 483.8 kt, 9.8 per cent above the equivalent total for January to November 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 795 kt lower than for January to November 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 5576 kt which is almost 46 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In November 2018 slab zinc production was 1170.2 kt and consumption 1247.5 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to November 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to November 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 6.5 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 41.3 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of November 2018 were 154 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to November 2018 totalled 2079 kt and demand was 2085 kt.

Mine production during January to November was 2169 kt, 289 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 136 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 127 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 168 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In November 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 212.4 kt and consumption was 201.5 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to November 2018

The tin market recorded a deficit of 13.4 kt during January to November 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 1.5 kt higher than at the end of 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 2.9 kt, compared with the January to November 2017 total. Production in Asia was 1.9 kt lower than the January to November 2017 total.. Apparent demand in China was 9.3 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to November was 345 kt which was 1.7 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 25.9 kt which was 0.7 kt below the comparable total for January to November 2017.

In November 2018 refined production was 30.4 kt and consumption was 32.5 kt


Dated 16th January 2019


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The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics January 2019 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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