News and announcements

< go back

WBMS Press Release
21/11/2012

January to September 2012 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market remains in surplus January to September 2012

The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to September 2012 was 488 kt which follows a surplus of 1871 kt recorded for the whole of 2011. Demand for primary aluminium for last year was 42.77 million tonnes, 2319 kt more than the equivalent total 2010. Production in January to September 2012 rose by 835 kt from the same period in 2011 and following on from a 3.10 million tonne increase over the whole of 2011. Total reported stocks rose by 169 kt during September and at the end of the month were 7174 kt which equated to over 61 days demand and compares with 6999 kt at the end of 2011. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 5452 kt at the end of September 2012 which was 265 kt above the December 2011 total. Global producer stocks at the end of September 2012 were 1287 kt which was 120 kt below the previous year’s close. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes especially those held in China.

Overall, global production rose in January to September 2012 by 2.5 per cent compared with the same months of 2011. Chinese output was estimated at 14744 kt and this currently accounts for 43 per cent of the world production total. China was a net importer of unwrought aluminium during January to September with imports exceeding exports by 32 kt. During the whole of the 2011 calendar year Chinese net exports totalled 433 kt.

Production in the EU27 fell by 17.8 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 2.3 per cent. EU27 demand was 12.1 per cent below the comparable period for 2011 total. Global demand rose by 3.6 per cent during the first nine months of the year compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In September 2012, primary aluminium production was 3800.2 kt and consumption was 3668.5 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to September 2012

The copper market recorded a deficit of 267 kt in January to September 2012 which follows a surplus of 248 kt in the whole of 2011. Reported stocks rose by 3.7 kt during September and ended the month 129 kt lower than at the end of 2011. 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 was 12.46 million tonnes which was 3.7 per cent higher than in the same period in 2011. Global refined production rose to 15.06 million tonnes up 1.6 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2011 with significant increases recorded for Spain (66.5 kt) and India (16.8 kt). Chilean output fell by 132.9 kt.

Global consumption for January to September 2012 was 15332 kt and the comparable figure for the 2011 calendar year was 14541 kt. Chinese apparent consumption in January to September 2012 rose by 1001 kt to 6603 kt which represented just over 43 per cent of global demand. EU27 demand was, at 2305 kt, 8.6 per cent below the January to September 2011 total.

In September 2012, refined copper production was 1694.4 kt and consumption was 1716.8 kt.

Lead market records surplus in January to September 2012

The lead market was in surplus by 11.0 kt in January to September 2012 which follows a surplus of 0.6 kt kt recorded in the whole of 2011. Total stocks at the end of September were 86.2 kt lower than at the end of 2011. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

Lead mine production was 3977.5 kt which was 19 per cent above the total recorded for the first nine months of 2011. The jump in production of concentrates is largely due to abnormally low Chinese output in January and February 2011. Refined production from both primary and secondary sources was 7781 kt. Global production rose by 1.3per cent and demand was 72 kt higher. Apparent consumption in China totalled 3537 kt of lead in January to September 2012 which was 148 kt above the comparable period in 2011 and represented over 45 per cent of the global total.

In September 2012, refined lead production was 929.0 kt and consumption was 938.7 kt.



Zinc market records surplus in January to September 2012

The zinc market was in surplus by 293 kt during January to September 2012 which compares with a surplus of 556 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 72 kt in the first nine months of the year with almost all of the increase recorded at LME warehouses. LME stocks represented 76 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand rose by 0.3 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2011. Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 8.4 per cent compared with the previous year. According to Chinese customs data, imports remain at historically high levels. Much of the Chinese imports originate from other Asian countries. Exports reported by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan confirm the Chinese imports.

Global refined production fell by 3.3 per cent and consumption fell by 1.8 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 353.1 kt, 5.9 per cent below the equivalent total for January to September 2011.

World demand was 167 kt lower than in the first nine months of 2011. Chinese apparent demand was 3943 kt which is over 43 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In September 2012 slab zinc production was 1038.2 and consumption 1025.8 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to September 2012

The Nickel market was in surplus during January to September 2012 with production exceeding apparent demand by 89 kt. In the whole of 2011 the calculated deficit was 3.1 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of September were 27 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to September totalled 1372 kt and demand was 1282.4 kt.

Mine production during January to September was 1432.9kt, 147 kt above the comparable 2011 total. Japanese refinery output increased by 6 kt compared with 2011 but apparent demand was 15.1 kt lower than in 2011.

World apparent demand was 74 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In September 2012, nickel smelter production was 167.2 kt and consumption was 156.8 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to September 2012

The tin market recorded a deficit of 12.5 kt during January to September 2012 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks which had been rising month on month between January and April have stabilised and ended September at 32.9 kt which is still 3.0 kt higher than in December 2011. Almost all recorded stocks are now held in Asia.

Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was down by 20.4 kt, compared with January to September 2011. Apparent demand in China was 0.9 per cent higher than during the first nine months of 2011.

Global tin demand during January to September 2012 was 270 kt which was 4.7 per cent below the comparable period of 2011. Japanese consumption was 20.7 kt which was 3.0 per cent below the comparable total for 2011.

In September 2012, refined production was 28.3 kt and demand was 30.9 kt


Dated 21st October 2012