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Press Release February 2016
17/02/2016

January to December 2015 METALS BALANCES
Primary aluminium market records deficit in January to December 2015
The calculated market deficit for primary aluminium for January to December 2015 was 356 kt which follows a deficit of 589 kt recorded for the whole of 2014. Demand for primary aluminium for January to December 2015 was 57.71 million tonnes 3869 kt more than the whole of 2014. Production in January to December 2015 rose by 4103 kt compared with 2014. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 6 kt during December and at the end of the month were 3783 kt which equated to 24 days demand and compares with 5020 kt at the end of 2014. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 3228 kt at the end of December 2015 which was 1217 kt below the December 2014 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 December 2015 by 8 per cent compared with the 2014. Chinese output was estimated at 31410 kt and this currently accounts for more than 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 14.2 per cent higher than 2014. Chinese net exports were 342 kt in January to December and net exports for the whole of 2014 were 313 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures from China have soared from 3652 in January to December 2014 to 4227 in 2015.
Production in the EU28 rose by 9.3 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 2.2 per cent. EU28 demand was 25 kt higher than the comparable 2014 total. Global demand rose by 7.2 per cent during January to December compared with the levels recorded one year previously.
In December 2015, primary aluminium production was 4502.8 kt and consumption was 4441.3 kt.
Copper market records surplus in January to December 2015
The copper market recorded a surplus of 146 kt in January to December 2015 which follows a surplus of 116 kt in the whole of 2014. Reported stocks fell during December but closed 143 kt higher than at the end of December 2014. 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 2015 was 19.28 million tonnes which was 4.3 per cent higher than in the same period in 2014. Global refined production rose to 23.08 million tonnes up 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in NAFTA (up 85 kt) and India (up 27 kt).
Global consumption for January to December 2015 was 22931 kt compared with 22811 kt for the same months of 2014. Chinese apparent consumption in January to December 2015 rose by 148 kt to 11451 kt which represented 50 per cent of global demand. EU28 production fell by 0.3 per cent and demand was, at 3311 kt, 2.4 per cent below the January to December 2014 total.
In December 2015, refined copper production was 2000.6 kt and consumption was 2046.1 kt.
Lead market records surplus in January to December 2015
The lead market was in surplus by 157 kt in January to December 2015 which follows a deficit of 38.4 kt recorded in the whole of 2014. Total stocks at the end of December were 87 kt lower than at the end of 2014. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.
World refined production during January to December 2015 from both primary and secondary sources was 10133 kt which was 7.4 per cent lower than in the comparable months of 2014. Global demand was 1010 kt lower. Apparent consumption in China totalled 3816 kt of lead in January to December 2015 which was 902 kt below the comparable period in 2014 and represented over 38 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 69 kt.
In December 2015, refined lead production was 854.1 kt and consumption was 819.5 kt.
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Zinc market records surplus in January to December 2015
The zinc market was in surplus by 81 kt during January to December 2015 which compares with a deficit of 209 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks fell by 80 kt during the year. LME stocks fell by 80 kt in December and ended the month 228 kt lower than at the end of 2014. LME stocks represent 42 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand rose by 1.0 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China rose by 5.6 per cent compared with 2014. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 94.4 kt in December which was the highest monthly total since May 2009 and brought the year to date figure to 543.4 kt, 27 kt lower than January to December 2014.
Global refined production rose by 3.1 per cent and consumption rose by 1.0 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 457.0 kt, 9.2 per cent below the equivalent total for January to December 2014.
World demand was 133 kt higher than for January to December 2014. Chinese apparent demand for January to December 2015 was 6487 kt which is almost 47 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.
In December 2015 slab zinc production was 1130.0 kt and consumption was 1142.9 kt.
Nickel market records small deficit in January to December 2015
The Nickel market was in deficit during January to December 2015 with apparent demand exceeding production by 13 kt. In the whole of 2014 the calculated surplus was 241.8 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of December were 26.4 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to December 2015 totalled 1920.6 kt and demand was 1934.0 kt.
Mine production during January to December was 1772.9 kt, 130 kt below the comparable 2014 total. The Indonesian export ban and the assumed drastic decline in local mine production commenced at the beginning of 2014. Japanese smelter/refinery output increased by 14.8 kt compared with 2014 and apparent demand was 1.2 kt higher than in the previous year.
World apparent demand was 234 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes
In December 2015, nickel smelter/refinery production was 163.3 kt and consumption was 167.3 kt.
Tin market records deficit in January to December 2015
The tin market recorded a deficit of 8.7 kt during January to December 2015 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks rose slightly during December and ended the year 5.2 kt lower than December 2014.
Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was down by 25.6 kt, compared with January to December 2014. Production in Asia declined from 316 kt in January to December 2014 to 296 kt in the comparable period in 2015. Apparent demand in China was 8.7 per cent lower than the equivalent total for January to December 2014.
Global tin demand during January to December 2015 was 363.8 kt which was 3.9 per cent below the comparable period of 2014. Japanese consumption was 26.8 kt which was 0.3 kt below the comparable total for 2014.
In December 2015, refined production was 31.9 kt and demand was 30.2 kt
Dated 17th February 2016
- ENDS-
The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics February 2016 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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