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press release May 2017
17/05/2017

January to March 2017 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in deficit in January to March 2017

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to March 2017 was a deficit of 356 kt which follows a deficit of 1120 kt recorded for the whole of 2016. Demand for primary aluminium for January to March 2017 was 15.05 million tonnes 1148 kt more than the first three months of 2016. Production in January to March 2017 rose by 990 kt compared with 2016. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks fell by 175 kt during March and at the end of the month were 2670 kt which equated to 17 daysí demand and compares with 2761 kt at the end of 2016. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 2238 kt at the end of March 2017 which was 87 kt below the December 2016 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 March 2017 by 7.2 per cent compared with the first three months of 2016. Chinese output was estimated at 8201 kt and this currently accounts for just under 56 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 13 per cent higher than 2016. Chinese net exports were 59 kt in January to March and net exports of unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2016 were 255 kt. Net exports of aluminium semi manufactures from China slipped from 862 kt in January to March 2016 to 858 kt in the first three months of 2017.

Production in the EU28 rose by 1.7 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 5.9 per cent. EU28 demand was 13 kt lower than the comparable 2016 total. Global demand rose by 8.3 per cent during January to March compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In March 2017, primary aluminium production was 4910.1 kt and consumption was 5066.7 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to March 2017

The copper market recorded a surplus of 148 kt in January to March 2017 which follows a surplus of 199 kt in the whole of 2016. Reported stocks rose during March and closed 193 kt higher than at the end of December 2016. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes, particularly in the Chinese government stockpile.

World mine production in January to March 2017 was 4.97 million tonnes which was 2.2 per cent higher than in the same period in 2016. Global refined production for January to March 2017 was 5.76 million tonnes down 0.1 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 146 kt) and a reduction in Chile (down 123 kt).

Global consumption for January to March 2017 was 5.61 million tonnes compared with 5.70 million tonnes for the same months of 2016. Chinese apparent consumption in January to March 2017 fell by 180 kt to 2671 kt compared to the same months of 2016 and represented just under 48 per cent of global demand. EU28 production fell by 0.2 per cent and demand was 834.6 kt, 4.7 per cent below the January to March 2016 total.

In March 2017, refined copper production was 1957.8 kt and consumption was 1987.3 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to March 2017

The lead market was in deficit by 104 kt in January to March 2017 which follows a deficit of 171 kt recorded in the whole of 2016. Total stocks at the end of March were 20.2 kt higher than at the end of 2016. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

World refined production during January to March 2017 from both primary and secondary sources was 2965 kt which was 13.6 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2016. Global demand was 416 kt higher. Apparent consumption in China totalled 1306 kt of lead in January to March 2017 which was 330 kt above the comparable period in 2016 and represented almost 43 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 100 kt for January to March 2017 compared to the first three months of 2016.

In March 2017, refined lead production was 1005.7 kt and consumption was 1054.3 kt.




Zinc market records surplus in January to March 2017

The zinc market was in surplus by 86 kt during January to March 2017 which compares with a deficit of 235 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks fell by 39 kt during March. LME stocks fell by 13 kt in March and ended the month 57 kt lower than at the end of 2016. LME stocks represent 37 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand rose by 1 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China rose by 4.4 per cent compared with 2016. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 26 kt in March which brought the year to date figure to 58 kt, 123 kt lower than in January to March 2016.

Global refined production rose by 4.4 per cent and consumption was 3 per cent higher than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 138.8 kt, 20 % above the equivalent total for January to March 2016.

World demand was 95 kt higher than for January to March 2016. Chinese apparent demand was 1510 kt which is 45.4 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In March 2017 slab zinc production was 1146.8 kt and consumption 1135.6 kt.

Nickel market records deficit in January to March 2017

The Nickel market was in deficit during January to March 2017 with apparent demand exceeding production by 28.3 kt. In the whole of 2016 the calculated deficit was 62 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of March 2017 were 4.4 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to March 2017 totalled 391.5 kt and demand was 419.8 kt.

Mine production during January to March was 417 kt, 47 kt below the comparable 2016 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output decreased by 17 kt compared with 2016 and apparent demand was 70 kt lower than in the previous year due to reduced imports of Nickel metal from Russia.

World apparent demand was 11 kt lower than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In March 2017, nickel smelter/refinery production was 129.6 kt and consumption was 143.7 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to March 2017

The tin market recorded a deficit of 1.5 kt during January to March 2017 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks fell by 2.5 kt during March and ended the period 1 kt lower than December 2016.

Global reported production of refined metal was up by 5.6 kt, compared with January to March 2016 total. Production in Asia was 1.1 kt higher than the January to March 2016 total. Apparent demand in China was 2.5 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to March 2017 was 92.3 kt which was 2.6 per cent below the comparable period of 2016. Japanese consumption was 7.6 kt which was 21 per cent higher than the comparable total for 2016.

In March 2017, refined production was 30.5 kt and demand was 31.9 kt


Dated 17th May 2017


- ENDS-






The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics May 2017 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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