News and announcements

< go back

WBMS PRESS RELEASE May 2012
16/05/2012

January to March 2012 METALS BALANCES

Primary aluminium market remains in surplus January to March 2012

The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to March 2012 was 384 kt which follows a surplus of 1814.7 kt recorded for the whole of 2011. Demand for primary aluminium for last year was 42.81 million tonnes, 2235 kt more than the equivalent total 2010. Production in January to March 2012 rose by 578 kt from the same period in 2011 and following on from a 2.71 million ton increase over the whole of 2011. Total reported stocks fell by 49 kt during March and at the end of the month were 7.22 million tonnes which equated to just under 62 days demand and compares with 7.0 million tonnes at the end of 2011. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 5446 kt at the end of March 2012 which was 260 kt above the December 2011 total. Global producer stocks at the end of March 2012 were 1380 kt which was 24 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 March 2011 by 5.5 per cent compared with the same months of 2011. Chinese output was estimated at 4589.1 kt and this currently accounts for 41 per cent of the world production total. China was a net importer of unwrought aluminium during January to March with imports exceeding exports by
33.7 kt. During the whole of the 2011 calendar year Chinese net exports totalled 433 kt.

Production in the EU27 fell by 6.0 per cent and NAFTA output rose by 0.6 per cent. EU27 demand was 13.7 per cent below the comparable period for 2011 total. Global demand rose by 6.1 per cent during the first quarter of the year compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In March 2011, primary aluminium production was 3774.9 kt and consumption was 3658.6 kt.

Copper market records deficit in January to March 2012

The copper market recorded a deficit of 157 kt in January to March 2012 which follows with a surplus of 320 kt in the whole of 2011. Reported stocks fell by 36 kt during March and ended the month 3.2 kt lower 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 March was 4.04 million tonnes which was 3.2 per cent higher than in the same period in 2011. Global refined production rose to 4.95 million tonnes up 3 per cent with significant increases recorded for Spain (12.5 kt), Iran (9.3kt) and India (12.5kt).Chilean output fell by 27 kt.

Global consumption for January to March 2012 was 5103 kt, the figure for the 2011 calendar year was 19470 kt. Chinese apparent consumption in January to March 2012 rose by 648 kt to 2318 kt which represented just over 45 per cent of global demand. EU27 demand was, at 811.1 kt, 7.8 per cent below the January to March 2011 total.

In March 2012, refined copper production was 1680.4 kt and consumption was 1722.3 kt.

Lead market records surplus in January to March 2012

The lead market was in surplus by 10.9 kt in January to March 2012 which follows a surplus of 3.6 kt kt recorded in the whole of 2011. Total stocks at the end of March were 25.5 kt higher than at the end of 2011 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 1208.2 kt which was 27 per cent above the total recorded for the first quarter of 2011. 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 2271 kt. Global production fell by 155 kt and demand was 161 kt lower. Chinese apparent consumption totalled 903 kt of lead in January to March 2012 which was 173 kt below the comparable period in 2011.

In March 2012, refined lead production was 777.9 kt and consumption was 776.8 kt.



Zinc market records surplus in January to March 2012

The zinc market was in surplus by 161 kt during January to March 2012 with a surplus of 540 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks rose by 94.1 kt in the first three months of the year 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 3.7 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 fell by 1.3 per cent and consumption fell by 1.7 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 111 kt, 9 per cent below the equivalent total for January to March 2011.

World demand was 51 kt lower than in the first quarter of 2011. Chinese apparent demand was 1304.7 kt which is just under 44 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In March 2012 slab zinc production was 1067.0 and consumption 1020.5 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to March 2012

The Nickel market was in surplus during January to March 2012 with production exceeding apparent demand by 6.2 kt. In the whole of 2011 the calculated surplus was 8.6 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of March were 8.3 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to March totalled 408.4 kt and demand was 402.2 kt.

Mine production during January to March was 472.3 kt, 98.2 kt above the comparable 2011 total. Japanese refinery output decreased by 0.2 kt compared with 2011 and apparent demand was 2.7 kt lower than in 2011.

World apparent demand was 46.7 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In March 2012, nickel smelter production was 137.4 kt and consumption was 135.5 kt.


Tin market broadly balanced in January to March 2012

The tin market recorded a fractional deficit of less than 0.1 kt during January to March 2012 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks fell in January by 1.4 kt and rose during February and March and ended the quarter 2.5 kt higher than at the end of last year. Almost all recorded stocks are now held in Asia.

Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was up by 0.2 kt, compared with January to March 2011. Apparent demand in China was 13.8 per cent higher than during the first quarter of 2011.

Global tin demand during January to March 2012 was 89 kt which was 4.3 per cent below the comparable period of 2011. Japanese consumption was 6.3 kt which was 23 per cent below the comparable total for 2011.

In March 2012, refined production was 30.3 kt and demand was 30.1 kt


Dated 16th May 2012
- ENDS-










The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics May 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



About World Bureau of Metal Statistics:

The World Bureau of Metal Statistics is the data resource of first resort for anyone involved with the global metals industry. By outsourcing their research to WBMS, whether via regular publications or surveys tailored to their needs, organisations not only enjoy the benefit of reliable, first class data but also save significantly on cost and time. Through regular publications, available on subscription in print and electronic format, WBMS are able to keep companies and organisations throughout the world up to date on the production, consumption and trade in the major non-ferrous metals.

Launched in 1947, WBMS concentrated initially on the metals trade within the then British Empire. With the contraction of Empire, the organisation switched focus to the world stage and began collecting and collating data from a huge number of global sources. More than half a century later, its massive and regularly updated database forms the basis of printed and electronic publications aimed at the many and varied users of metal statistics. In particular, its monthly World Metal Statistics Bulletin represents the most comprehensive data available anywhere.

World Bureau of Metal Statistics
27A High Street
Ware
Herts
SG12 9BA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1920 461274
Fax: +44 (0) 1920 464258