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WBMS PRESS RELEASE
15/02/2012

January and December 2011 METALS BALANCES
Primary aluminium market remains in surplus January to December 2011
The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to December 2011 was 1205 kt which compares
with a surplus of 1053.6 kt recorded for the whole of 2010. Demand for primary aluminium for last year was 42.45
million tonnes, 2389 kt more than the equivalent total 2010. Production in January to December 2011 rose by 2540
kt following on from a 3.91 million ton increase over the whole of 2010. Total reported stocks jumped by 525 kt
during December and at the end of the month were 7.10 million tonnes which equated to just over 61 days demand
and compares with 6.50 million tonnes at the end of 2010. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London,
Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 5187 kt at the end of 2011 which was 471 kt above the December 2010 total.
Global producer stocks at the end of December 2011 were 1503 kt which was 207 kt above 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 2011 by 6.2 per cent compared with the 2010. Chinese
output was estimated at 17988 kt and this currently accounts for just over 41 per cent of the world production total.
China was a net exporter of unwrought aluminium during the year with exports exceeding imports by 433 kt. During
the whole of the 2010 calendar year, Chinese net exports totalled 390 kt.
Production in the EU27 rose by 3.4 per cent and NAFTA output was 5.9 per cent higher. EU27 demand was 4.9
per cent above the 2010 total. Global demand rose by almost 6 per cent during the year compared with the levels
recorded one year previously.
In December 2011, primary aluminium production was 3581.8 kt and consumption was 3351.9 kt.
Copper market records small surplus in January to December 2011
The copper market recorded a surplus of 69.1 kt in January to December 2011 which compares with a deficit of
175 kt in the whole of 2010. Reported stocks rose by 12.1 kt during December and ended the month 59.9 kt lower
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 December was 16.21 million tonnes which was 0.5 per cent higher than in the
whole of 2010. During 2011, refined production rose to 19.58 million tonnes up 2.0 per cent compared to the
previous year. Chinese output rose by 623.4 kt. Chilean metal production fell by 167 kt to 3077 kt and Japanese
output was 221 kt lower than last year.
Global consumption for January to December 2011 was 19509 kt and the 2010 calendar year total was 19365 kt.
Chinese apparent consumption rose by 496 kt to 7914 kt which represented just over 40 per cent of global
demand. EU27 demand was, at 3316 kt, 3.2 per cent below the January to December 2010 total.
In December 2011, refined copper production was 1677.6 kt and consumption was 1734.2 kt.
Lead market records small surplus in January to December 2011
The lead market was in surplus by 58.2 kt in January to December 2011 which compares with a deficit of 62.8 kt kt
recorded in the whole of 2010. Total stocks at the end of December were 137 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 4675.7 kt which was 10.1 per cent above the total recorded for 2010. Refined
production from both primary and secondary sources was 9988 kt. Global production rose by 476 kt and demand
was 355 kt higher. Chinese apparent consumption totalled 4630 kt of lead in January to December 2011 which was
417 kt above the comparable period in 2010.
In December 2011, refined lead production was 854.3 kt and consumption was 860.7 kt.
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Zinc market records surplus in January to December 2011
The zinc market was in surplus by 513 kt during January to December 2011 which compares with a surplus of 425
kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 248 kt with almost all of the increase
recorded at LME warehouses. LME stocks represented 74 per cent of the global total. The global demand total
included a rise in the apparent demand figure for China of 2.6 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.
Global refined production rose by 2.0 per cent and consumption rose by a more modest 1.4 per cent compared
with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 505 kt, 2.2 per cent below the equivalent total
for January to December 2010.
World demand was 169 kt higher than in the 2010. Chinese apparent demand was 5442 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 2011 slab zinc production was 1111.4 and consumption 1095.8 kt.
Nickel market records apparent deficit in January to December 2011
The Nickel market was in deficit during January to December 2011 with apparent demand exceeding supply by
10.9 kt. In the whole of 2010 the calculated surplus was 0.1 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
December were 46.4 kt lower than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to December
2011 totalled 1787.5 kt and demand was 1798.4 kt.
Mine production during January to December was 1811.5 kt, 297.3 kt above the comparable 2010 total. Japanese
refinery output decreased by 5.1 kt compared with 2010 and apparent demand was slightly higher than in 2010.
World apparent demand was 288 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption
calculation for unreported stock changes
In December 2011, nickel smelter production was 159.8 kt and consumption was 164.4 kt.
Tin market records deficit in January to December 2011
The tin market recorded a deficit of 5.2 kt during 2011 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total
reported stocks fell sharply during the final quarter of the year and ended the year 3.9 kt lower 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 11.6 kt, compared with
January to December 2010. Production in August 2011 was reduced due to the closure of the Peruvian smelter for
maintenance. During the whole of last year, apparent demand in China was 18.3 per cent higher than during the
2010.
Global tin demand during January to December 2011 was 372.3 kt which was 0.3 per cent above the comparable
period of 2010. Japanese consumption was 25.8 kt which was 28 per cent below the comparable total for 2010.
In December 2011, refined production was 26.5 kt and demand was 30.0 kt
Dated 15th February 20112
- ENDSThe
above data are taken from World Metal Statistics February 2012 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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