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WBMS Press Release - January to December 2012 METALS BALANCES
20/02/2013

January to December 2012 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market remains in surplus January to December 2012

The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to December 2012 was 419.4 kt which follows a surplus of 1887 kt recorded for the whole of 2011. Demand for primary aluminium in 2012 was 45.75 million tonnes, 2915 kt more than the equivalent total 2011. Production in January to Dcember 2012 rose by 1447 kt from the same period in 2011. Total reported stocks rose by 19 kt during December and at the end of the month were 7359 kt which equated to over 59 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 5653 kt at the end of December 2012 which was 466 kt above the December 2011 total. Global producer stocks at the end of December 2012 were 1260 kt which was 144 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 December 2012 by 3.2 per cent compared with the same months of 2011. Chinese output was estimated at 20268 kt and this currently accounts for just under 44 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 15 per cent higher than in 2011 whilst the output of semis rose by almost 30 per cent. China was a net importer of unwrought aluminium during the year with imports exceeding exports by 7 kt. During the whole of the 2011 calendar year Chinese net exports totalled 433 kt.

Production in the EU27 fell by 19 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 2.4 per cent. EU27 demand was 7.7 per cent below the comparable period for 2011 total. Global demand rose by 6.8 per cent during the year compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In December 2012, primary aluminium production was 3946.2 kt and consumption was 3806.5 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to December 2012

The copper market recorded a deficit of 106 kt in January to December 2012 which follows a surplus of 244 kt in the whole of 2011. Reported stocks rose by 89 kt during December and ended the month 66 kt higher 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 December was 17.02 million tonnes which was 4.4 per cent higher than in the same period in 2011. Global refined production rose to 20.44 million tonnes up 2.9 per cent compared with the previous year with significant increases recorded for Spain (up 69.4 kt) and India (up 27.7 kt). Chilean output fell by 190 kt.

Global consumption for January to December 2012 was 20548 kt and the comparable figure for the 2011 calendar year was 19626 kt. Chinese apparent consumption in January to December 2012 rose by 925 kt to 8840 kt which represented just over 43 per cent of global demand. EU27 demand was, at 3069 kt, 7.6 per cent below the January to December 2011 total.

In December 2012, refined copper production was 1833.1 kt and consumption was 1748.4 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to December 2012

The lead market was in deficit by 14.2 kt in January to December 2012 which follows a deficit of 46.6 kt recorded in the whole of 2011. Total stocks at the end of December were 34.3 kt higher than at the end of 2011. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

Lead mine production was 5277 kt which was 12.6 per cent above the total recorded for the previous year. 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 10485 kt. Global production rose by 1.1 per cent and demand was 83 kt higher. Apparent consumption in China totalled 4673 kt of lead in January to December 2012 which was 10 kt above the comparable period in 2011 and represented just under 45 per cent of the global total.

In December 2012, refined lead production was 900.9 kt and consumption was 939.5 kt.



Zinc market records surplus in January to December 2012

The zinc market was in surplus by 193 kt during January to December 2012 which compares with a surplus of 552 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 3 kt during December bringing the increase for the year to date to 328 kt. Almost all of the increase recorded at LME warehouses. LME stocks represented 63 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand fell by 1.4 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China fell by 7.5 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 0.6 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 486.4 kt, 2.8 per cent below the equivalent total for January to December 2011.

World demand was 71 kt lower than in 2011. Chinese apparent demand was 5396 kt which is over 43 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In December 2012 slab zinc production was 1148.0 and consumption 1158.2 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to December 2012

The Nickel market was in surplus during January to December 2012 with production exceeding apparent demand by 117 kt. In the whole of 2011 the calculated deficit was 3.1 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of December were 51 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to December totalled 1888.4 kt and demand was 1771.5 kt.

Mine production during January to December was 1963.1 kt, 121 kt above the comparable 2011 total. Japanese refinery output increased by 10.7 kt compared with 2011 but apparent demand was 14.4 kt lower than in 2011.

World apparent demand was 101.4 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In December 2012, nickel smelter production was 181.0 kt and consumption was 165.2 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to December 2012

The tin market recorded a deficit of 4.0 kt during January to December 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 December at 33.8 kt which is still 3.9 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 10.4 kt, compared with January to December 2011. Apparent demand in China was 2.4 per cent lower than during the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to December 2012 was 362.3 kt which was 6.2 per cent below the comparable period of 2011. Japanese consumption was 27.7 kt which was 3 per cent above the comparable total for 2011.

In December 2012, refined production was 34.3 kt and demand was 31.6 kt


Dated 20th February 2013