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Press Release
21/11/2018

January to September 2018 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to September 2018

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to September was a deficit of 206 kt which follows a deficit of 1175 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. Chinese trade data has just become available after a six-month delay for technical reasons. Demand for primary aluminium for January to September 2018 was 44.7 million tonnes 675 kt less than in the same nine months of 2017. Production in January to September 2018 rose by 118 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 136 kt during September and closed at the end of the month 38 kt below the December 2017 level. LME stocks fell by 50 kt during September mostly due to decreases in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Netherlands. Total stocks at the end of September 2018 were 2308 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 1828 kt at the end of September 2018 which were 114 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 September 2018 by 0.3 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 24999 kt and this currently accounts for 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 1.3 per cent higher than in January to September 2017. Chinese net exports of unwrought aluminium were 291 kt during January to September 2018 which compares with 275 kt in the comparable period in 2017. January to September 2018 net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 3683 kt which compares with 2916 kt for the first three quarters of 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 0.5 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.0 per cent. EU28 demand was 118 kt higher than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 1.5 per cent during January to September 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In September 2018, primary aluminium production was 4934.5 kt and consumption was 4897.5 kt.

Copper market records tiny deficit in January to September 2018

The copper market recorded a deficit of 6.3 kt in January to September 2018 which follows a surplus of 93.8 kt in the whole of 2017. Reported stocks fell during September and closed 72 kt lower than at the end of December 2017. These decreases included net deliveries of 63 kt out LME warehouses in Asia and Europe. 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 September 2018 was 15.36 million tonnes which was 1.9 per cent higher than in the same period in 2017. Global refined production for January to September 2018 was 17.52 million tonnes up 0.3 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in Zambia (up 97 kt) and in Chile (up 61 kt).

Global consumption for January to September 2018 was 17.53 million tonnes compared with 17.49 million tonnes for the same months of 2017. Chinese trade data has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to September 2018 was 9228 kt which was 5 per cent higher than the first three quarters of 2017. EU28 production fell by 1.4 per cent and demand was 2551 kt, 0.9 per cent above the January to September 2017 total.

In September 2018, refined copper production was 1963.2 kt and consumption was 2004.3 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to September 2018

The lead market recorded a deficit of 138 kt in January to September 2018 which follows a deficit of 393 kt recorded in the whole of 2017. Total stocks at the end of September were 50 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 September 2018 from both primary and secondary sources was 8462 kt which was 0.8 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 3548 kt which was 74 kt below the comparable period in 2017 and represented just over 41 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 25 kt for January to September 2018 compared to the same months of 2017.

In September 2018, refined lead production was 973.2 kt and consumption was 990.6 kt.


Zinc market records deficit in January to September 2018

The zinc market was in deficit by 52.3 kt during January to September 2018 which compares with a deficit of 431 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks decreased by 48 kt during January to September with a net decrease in Shanghai of 39 kt over the period. LME stocks rose earlier in the year but declined by 37 kt during September 201.9 kt which compares with 181 kt at the end of 2017. LME stocks represent 33 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 1.9 per cent and consumption was 4.6 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 390.8 kt, 7.7 per cent above the equivalent total for January to September 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 484 kt lower than for January to September 2017. Chinese apparent demand was 4519 kt which is 45 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In September 2018 slab zinc production was 1099.6 kt and consumption 1105.2 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to September 2018

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to September 2018 with apparent demand exceeding production by 33 kt. In the whole of 2017 the calculated deficit was 41.3 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of September 2018 were 138 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to September 2018 totalled 1626 kt and demand was 1659 kt.

Mine production during January to September was 1686 kt, 181 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 69 kt compared with 2017 and apparent demand was 73 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 134 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In September 2018, nickel smelter/refinery production was 185.7 kt and consumption was 195.4 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to September 2018

The tin market recorded a deficit of 9.7 kt during January to September 2018 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks were 2.4 kt higher than at the end of 2017.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 2 kt, compared with the January to September 2017 total. Production in Asia was 2.4 kt lower than the January to September 2017 total. Chinese trade data has just become available following a six-month delay for technical reasons. Apparent demand in China was 10 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to September was 283 kt which was 2 per cent below the comparable period of 2017. Japanese consumption was 21.1 kt which was 0.7 kt below the comparable total for January to September 2017.

In September 2018 refined production was 31.3 kt and consumption was 32.9 kt


Dated 21st November 2018


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The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics November 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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