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PRESS RELEASE JULY 2011
20/07/2011

January and May 2011 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market in surplus January to May 2011

The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to May 2011 was 396.4 kt which compares with a surplus of 660.4 kt registered in the first five months of 2010 and with a surplus of 989 kt in the whole of 2010. Demand for primary aluminium in the first five months of 2011 was 17.27 million tonnes, 793 kt more then the equivalent total 2010. Production in January to May rose by 529 kt following on from a 3.9 million ton increase over the whole of 2010. Total reported stocks rose by 59 kt during May. At the end of May total stocks were 6.98 million tonnes which equated to just over 63 days demand and compares with 6.51 million tonnes at the end of last year. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 5011 kt at the end of May which was 295 kt above the December 2010 total. Global producer stocks at the end of May were 1573 kt which was 177 kt above last 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 May by 3 per cent compared with the first five months of 2010. Chinese output was estimated at 7121 kt and this currently accounts for 40 per cent of the world production total. China was a net exporter of unwrought aluminium with exports exceeding imports by 141 kt. During the whole of the 2010 calendar year, Chinese net exports totalled 390 kt.

Production in the EU27 rose by 6.1 per cent and NAFTA output was 3.3 per cent higher. EU27 demand was 13.7 per cent above the January to May 2010 period. Global demand rose by 3.1 per cent in the first five months compared with the levels recorded one year ago.

In May 2011, primary aluminium production was 3727.0 kt and consumption was 3683.4 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to May 2011

The copper market recorded a surplus of 74.1 kt In January to May 2011 which compares with a surplus of 54 kt in the whole of 2010. Reported stocks fell during May but ended the month 27 kt higher than at the end of 2010. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes, particularly in the Chinese government stockpile

World mine production in January to May was 6.53 million tonnes which was 2.0 per cent higher than in the same months of 2010. In the first five months of 2011, refined production rose to 7.95 million tonnes up 0.8 per cent compared to the same months last year. Chinese output rose by 188 kt. Chilean metal production fell by 49 kt to 1285 kt.

Global consumption for January to May 2011 was 7878 kt and the 2010 calendar year total was 19.13 million tonnes. Chinese apparent consumption fell by 266 kt to 2853 kt which represented 36 per cent of global demand. EU27 demand was, at 1436 kt, 2.4 per cent above the January to May 2010 total.

In May 2011, refined copper production was 1609.0 kt and consumption was 1589.7 kt.

Lead market records surplus in January to May 2011

The lead market was in surplus by 96.4 kt in January to May 2011 which compares with a surplus of 62.3 kt recorded in the first five months of 2010. Total stocks at the end of May were 112.3 kt higher than at the end of 2010 with almost all of the increase registered in LME warehouses. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

Lead mine production was 1682.4 kt which was 8.9 per cent above the total recorded for the first five months of 2010. Refined production from both primary and secondary sources was 3965.8 kt. Both production and demand were about 11 per cent above the January to May 2010 levels increasing by 396 and 362kt respectively. Chinese apparent consumption totalled 1797 kt of lead in January to May 2011 which was 353 kt above the comparable period in 2010.

In May 2011, refined lead production was 778.0 kt and consumption was 771.0 kt.



Zinc market records surplus in January to May 2011

The zinc market was in surplus by 341 kt during January to May 2011 which compares with a surplus of 415kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 209 kt with almost all of the increase recorded at LME warehouses. LME stocks represented 80 per cent of the global total. The global demand total included a rise in the apparent demand figure for China of 4.3 per cent. 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.

Refined production and consumption rose by 1.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively compared with the very low levels recorded at the beginning of last year. Japanese demand was, at 217.4 kt, 4.0 per cent above the equivalent total for January to May 2010.

World demand was 28.1 kt higher than in the five months of 2010. Chinese apparent demand was 2106 kt which is almost 43 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In May 2011 slab zinc production was 1071.6 and consumption 1016.9 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to May 2011

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to May 2011 with apparent demand exceeding supply by 8.2 kt. In the whole of 2010 the calculated surplus was 2 kt but this figure includes substantial imports recorded by China, some of which was destined for re-stocking purposes. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of May were 22 kt lower than at the end of last year. Refined production in January to December 2010 totalled 1513.1 kt and demand was 1511.1 kt.

Mine production during January to May was 624.4 kt, 53 kt above the comparable 2010 total. Japanese refinery output decreased by 3.3 kt compared with the first five months of 2010 but apparent demand rose by 1.4 kt.

World apparent demand was 84kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In May 2011, nickel smelter production was 144.6 kt and consumption was 147.9 kt.

Tin market records surplus in January to May 2011

The tin market recorded a calculated surplus of 1.1 kt during the first five months of 2011 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks rose during May and ended the month 5.8 kt higher than at the end of December 2010. Almost all recorded stocks are now held in Asia.

Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was up by 9.3 kt, compared with January to May 2010. During the first five months of this year, apparent demand in China and was 7.7 per cent higher than during the comparable months of 2010.

Global tin demand during January to May 2011 was 151.7 kt which was 3.1 per cent above the comparable period of 2010. US apparent consumption in January to May 2011 was estimated at 11 per cent below the figure for 2010 due to exceptionally low imports of metal in April 2011. Japanese consumption was 13.2 kt which was 5 per cent below the comparable total for 2010.

In May 2011, refined production was 31.4 kt and demand was 31.5 kt


Dated 20th July 2011