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Press Release August 2019
21/08/2019

January to June 2019 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to June 2019

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to June 2019 was a deficit of 492 kt which follows a deficit of 713 kt recorded for the whole of 2018. Demand for primary aluminium for January to June 2019 was 31.1 million tonnes, 543 kt more than in the same six months of 2018. Production in January to June 2019 rose by 573 kt compared with the same period in 2018. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell during June and closed at the end of the month 555 kt below the December 2018 level. Total LME stocks fell during June with the major decreases recorded in Asian warehouses. Total stocks at the end of June 2019 were 1874.3 kt which compares with 2429 kt at the end of 2018. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 1414 kt at the end of June 2019 which were 538 kt lower 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 June 2019 by 1.91 per cent compared with the first six months of 2018. Chinese output was estimated at 17430.7 kt and this currently accounts for about 57 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 8.5 per cent higher than in January to June 2018. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 236 kt during January to June 2019 which compares with 204 kt in the comparable period in 2018. January to June 2019 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 2486 kt which compares with 2095 kt for the first half of 2018.

Production in the EU28 was 2.4 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output rose by 6.7 per cent. EU28 demand was 23 kt lower than the comparable 2018 total. Global demand rose by 1.8 per cent during January to June 2019 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In June 2019, primary aluminium production was 5176.5 kt and consumption was 5338.0 kt.

Copper market small deficit in January to June 2019

The copper market recorded a deficit of 41 kt in January to June 2019 which follows a deficit of 37 kt in the whole of 2018. Reported stocks rose each month in between January and April but fell back in May and June to close at the end of June 87 kt higher than at the end of December 2018. This increase includes net deliveries of 109 kt into the LME warehouses and net deliveries of 27 kt into Shanghai warehouses. Comex stocks dropped by 71 kt over the first half of the year. 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 2019 was 10.28 million tonnes which was 0.4 per cent higher than in the same period in 2018. Global refined production for January to June 2019 was 11.21 million tonnes down 4.8 per cent compared with the previous year with significant decreases recorded in India (down 111 kt) and in Chile (down 191 kt).

Global consumption for January to June 2019 was 11.25 million tonnes compared with 11.72 million tonnes for the same months of 2018. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to June 2019 was 5690 kt which was 4.8 per cent lower than the first half of 2018. EU28 production fell by 2.5 per cent and demand was 1637 kt, 4.8 per cent below the January to June 2018 total.

In June 2019, refined copper production was 1970.0 kt and consumption was 1951.5 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to June 2019

The lead market recorded a deficit of 191 kt in January to June 2019 which follows a deficit of 268 kt recorded in the whole of 2018. Total stocks at the end of June were 24 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 June 2019 from both primary and secondary sources was 6201 kt which was 9.3 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2018 Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 2954 kt which was 582 kt higher than the comparable period in 2018 and represented about 46 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 7 kt for January to June 2019 compared to the same months of 2018.

In June 2019, refined lead production was 1025.1 kt and consumption was 1054.6 kt.


Zinc market records deficit in January to June 2019

The zinc market was in deficit by 78 kt during January to June 2019 which compares with a surplus of 64 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks increased by 41 kt during January to June with a net increase in Shanghai of 15 kt over the period. LME stocks fell in each month of the first quarter and closed 34 kt below the December 2018 level. LME stocks represent 16 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in US and Dutch warehouses.

Global refined production fell by 1.7 per cent and consumption was 4.3 per cent higher than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 258.5 kt, 3 per cent below the equivalent total for January to June 2018.

World demand was 276 kt higher than for January to June 2018. Chinese apparent demand was 3126 kt which is 47 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In June 2019, slab zinc production was 1156.5 kt and consumption 1132.2 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to June 2019

The nickel market was in deficit during January to June 2019 with apparent demand exceeding production by 55.5 kt. In the whole of 2018 the calculated deficit was 95.7 kt.. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of June 2019 were 44.7 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to June 2019 totalled 1102.4 kt and demand was 1158.0 kt.

Mine production during January to June was 1204.9 kt, 106 kt above the comparable 2018 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output increased by 47 kt compared with 2018 and apparent demand was 79 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 27 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In June 2019, nickel smelter/refinery production was 193.5 kt and consumption was 199.7 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to June 2019

The tin market recorded a deficit of 4.2 kt during January to June 2019 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 9.1 kt higher than at the end of 2018 but this includes an unexplained increase in Indonesian stocks of 6.0 kt.

Global reported production of refined metal was up by 2 kt, compared with the January to June 2018 total. Production in Asia was 0.8 kt lower than the January to June 2018 total. Apparent demand in China was 5.5 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to June 2019 was 185.8 kt which was 1.6 per cent above the comparable period of 2018. Japanese consumption was 13.9 kt which was 6.4 per cent below the comparable total for January to June 2018.

In June 2019, refined production was 33.8 kt and consumption was 34.1 kt


Dated 20th August 2019


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics August 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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