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WBMS Press Release February 2019
20/02/2019

January to December 2018 METALS BALANCES
WBMS has just issued its preliminary data for the 2018 calendar year
Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to December 2018
The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to December was a deficit of 859 kt which follows a deficit of 1209 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Chinese trade data is now available up to December 2018. Demand for primary aluminium for January to December 2018 was 60.524 million tonnes 685 kt more than in the the whole of 2017. Production in January to December 2018 rose by 1036 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 186 kt during December and closed at the end of the month 58 kt above the December 2017 level. Total LME stocks rose by 225 kt during December with stocks in Malaysia rising by a further 185 kt whilst other stocks in Asia were 45 kt higher. Total stocks at the end of December 2018 were 2404 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 1951 kt at the end of December 2018 which were 9 kt higher 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 December 2018 by 1.8 per cent compared with the whole of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 33586 kt and this currently accounts for 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 4.4 per cent higher than in January to December 2017. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 363 kt during 2018 which compares with 365 kt in the comparable period in 2017. January to December 2018 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 4681 kt which compares with 3847 kt for the whole of 2017.
Production in the EU28 was 0.5 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 3.4 per cent. EU28 demand was 360 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand was virtually unchanged during January to December 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.
In December 2018, primary aluminium production was 5242.1 kt and consumption was 5191.7 kt.
Copper market records surplus in January to December 2018
The copper market recorded a surplus of 496 kt in January to December 2018 which follows a surplus of 138 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks fell during December and closed 201 kt lower than at the end of December 2017. These decreases included net deliveries of 2 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 December 2018 was 20.71 million tonnes which was 2.1 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to December 2018 was 23.66 million tonnes up 1.1 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in Zambia (up 97 kt), in Chile (up 31 kt) and in Iran (up 71 kt).
Global consumption for January to December 2018 was 23.17 million tonnes compared with 23.26 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese trade data for December 2018 is now available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to December 2018 was 12482 kt which was 5.9 per cent higher than the whole of 2017. EU28 production fell by 1.5 per cent and demand was 3413 kt, 2.3 per cent above the January to December 2017 total.
In December 2018, refined copper production was 2107.4 kt and consumption was 2088.8 kt.
Lead market records deficit in January to December 2018
The lead market recorded a deficit of 204 kt in January to December 2018 which follows a deficit of 386 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of December were 56 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 December 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 11765 kt which was 4.8 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2017. Chinese trade data is now available following
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a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 5235 kt which was 441 kt higher than the comparable period in 2017 and represented almost 44 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 10 kt for January to December 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.
In December 2018, refined lead production was 1120.8 kt and consumption was 1137.8 kt.
Zinc market records surplus in January to December 2018
The zinc market was in surplus by 48.5 kt during January to December 2018 which compares with a deficit of 438 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks decreased by 126 kt during January to December with a net decrease in Shanghai of 25.2 kt over the period. LME stocks rose earlier in the year but declined to 129 kt by the end of December 2018 which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 24 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses.
Global refined production fell by 2.8 per cent and consumption was 6.1 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 524.1 kt, 8.7 per cent above the equivalent total for January to December 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 873 kt lower than for January to December 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 6179 kt which is just over 46 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.
In December 2018 slab zinc production was 1150.3 kt and consumption 1176.8 kt.
Nickel market records surplus in January to December 2018
The Nickel market was in surplus during January to December 2018 with production exceeding apparent demand by 27 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 41.3 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of December 2018 were 160 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to December 2018 totalled 2272 kt and demand was 2245 kt.
Mine production during January to December was 2388 kt, 411 kt above the comparable 2017 total. Chinese trade data is now available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 127 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 92 kt higher than in the previous year.
World apparent demand was 133 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes
In December 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 194.7 kt and consumption was 167.5 kt.
Tin market records deficit in January to December 2018
The tin market recorded a deficit of 12.4 kt during January to December 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 3.3 kt higher than at the end of 2017.
Global reported production of refined metal was up by 4.2 kt, compared with the January to December 2017 total. Production in Asia was 5.3 kt higher than the January to December 2017 total. Apparent demand in China was 5.0 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.
Global tin demand during January to December was 381 kt which was 0.1 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 28.1 kt which was 1 kt below the comparable total for January to December 2017.
In December 2018 refined production was 33.8 kt and consumption was 32.9 kt
Dated 20th February 2019
- ENDS-
The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics February 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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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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