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Press Release February 2019
17/04/2019

January to February 2019 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to February 2019

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to February 2019 was a deficit of 20.6 kt which follows a deficit of 932 kt recorded for the whole of 2018. Chinese trade data is now available up to February 2019. Demand for primary aluminium for January to February 2019 was 9.95 million tonnes 186 kt more than in the same two months of 2018. Production in January to February 2019 rose by 330 kt compared with the same period in 2018. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell slightly during February and closed at the end of the month 49 kt above the December 2018 level. Total LME stocks fell fractionally during February but stocks in Malaysia rose by 17 kt but other stocks in Asia declined. Total stocks at the end of February 2019 were 2452 kt which compares with 2404 kt at the end of 2018. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 1976 kt at the end of February 2019 which were 25 kt higher than in December 2018 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 February 2019 by 3.4 per cent compared with the first two months of 2018. Chinese output was estimated at 5688 kt and this currently accounts for 57 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 7.1 per cent higher than in January to February 2018. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 48 kt during January to February 2019 which compares with 67 kt in the comparable period in 2018. January to February 2019 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 761 kt which compares with 664 kt for the first two months of 2018.

Production in the EU28 was 0.9 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output rose by 6.8 per cent. EU28 demand was 104 kt lower than the comparable 2018 total. Global demand rose by 2 per cent during January to February 2019 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In February 2019, primary aluminium production was 4881.7 kt and consumption was 4875.0 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to February 2019

The copper market recorded a surplus of 51 kt in January to February 2019 which follows a deficit of 25 kt in the whole of 2018. Reported stocks rose during January and closed 65 kt higher than at the end of December 2018. These increases included net deliveries of 6.1 kt out of LME warehouses and net deliveries of almost 100 kt into Shanghai 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 February 2019 was 3.30 million tonnes which was 0.6 per cent lower than in the same period in 2018. Global refined production for January to February 2019 was 3.67 million tonnes down 7 per cent compared with the previous year with significant decreases recorded in India (down 63 kt) and in Chile (down 58 kt).

Global consumption for January to February 2019 was 3.61 million tonnes compared with 3.84 million tonnes for the same months of 2018. Chinese trade data is now available for the first two months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to February 2019 was 1739 kt which was 8.5 per cent lower than the first two months of 2018. EU28 production fell by 0.9 per cent and demand was 547 kt, 2.9 per cent below the January to February 2018 total.

In February 2019, refined copper production was 1797.0 kt and consumption was 1684.4 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to February 2019

The lead market recorded a deficit of 63 kt in January to February 2019 which follows a deficit of 280 kt recorded in the whole of 2018. Total stocks at the end of February were 15 kt lower than at the end of 2018. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

World refined production during January to February 2019 from both primary and secondary sources was 2070 kt which was 6 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2018 Chinese trade data is now available for the first two months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 965 kt which was 133 kt higher than the comparable period in 2018 and represented over 45 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 7 kt for January to February 2019 compared to the same months of 2018.

In February 2019, refined lead production was 1035.8 kt and consumption was 1050.1 kt.


Zinc market records deficit in January to February 2019

The zinc market was in deficit by 36.8 kt during January to February 2019 which compares with a surplus of 71.6 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks decreased by 46 kt during January to February with a net increase in Shanghai of 7.5 kt over the period. LME stocks fell in both January and February and closed at 64.5 kt below the December 2018 level. LME stocks represent 13 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US warehouses.

Global refined production fell by 5 per cent and consumption was 1.3 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 84.8 kt, 2.6 per cent above the equivalent total for January to February 2018.

World demand was 28 kt lower than for January to February 2018. Chinese apparent demand was 981 kt which is almost 46 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In February 2019, slab zinc production was 1038.9 kt and consumption 1039.2 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to February 2019

The nickel market was in surplus during January to February 2019 with apparent demand exceeding production by 16.4 kt. In the whole of 2018 the calculated surplus was 88 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of February 2019 were 9.6 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to February 2019 totalled 342.1 kt and demand was 325.7 kt.

Mine production during January to February was 345 kt, 23 kt above the comparable 2018 total. Chinese trade data is now available for the first two months of 2019. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 14 kt compared with 2018 and apparent demand was 14 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 21 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In February 2019, nickel smelter/refinery production was 168.9 kt and consumption was 157.2 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to February 2019

The tin market recorded a deficit of 8.3 kt during January to February 2019 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 0.8 kt lower than at the end of 2018.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 3.2 kt, compared with the January to February 2018 total. Production in Asia was 4.6 kt lower than the January to February 2018 total. Apparent demand in China was 3.2 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to February 2019 was 63 kt which was 4.8 per cent above the comparable period of 2018. Japanese consumption was 5.0 kt which was 9.3 per cent below the comparable total for January to February 2018.

In February 2019, refined production was 30.8 kt and consumption was 31.7 kt


Dated 17th April 2019


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics April 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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