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metal balances march 2013
22/05/2013

January and March 2013 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market in January to March 2013

The calculated market surplus for primary aluminium for January to March 2013 was 377 kt which follows a surplus of 553 kt recorded for the whole of 2012. Demand for primary aluminium in January to March 2013 was 11.35 million tonnes 517 kt more than the equivalent total in 2012. Production in January to March 2013 rose by 534 kt from the same period in 2012. Total reported stocks rose by 14 kt during March and at the end of the month were 7395 kt which equated to over 58 days demand and compares with 7361 kt at the end of 2012. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 5733 kt at the end of March 2013 which was 81 kt above the December 2012 total. Global producer stocks at the end of March 2012 were 1233 kt which was 29 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 March 2013 by 4.8 per cent compared with the same months of 2012. Chinese output was estimated at 5215.1 kt and this currently accounts for almost 45 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 9.3 per cent higher than in the first quarter of 2012 whilst the output of semis rose by almost 25.5 per cent. China was a net importer of unwrought aluminium during 2012 but has become a net exporter in the first three months of this yearwith exports exceeding imports by 53 kt. During the whole of the 2012 calendar year Chinese net imports totalled a mere 7 kt.

Production in the EU27 fell by 2.3 per cent and NAFTA output rose by 3.7 per cent. EU27 demand was 1.3 per cent above the comparable period for 2012 total. Global demand rose by 4.8 per cent during the first three months of the year compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In March 2013, primary aluminium production was 3898.4 kt and consumption was 3714.3 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to March 2013

The copper market recorded a surplus of 253 kt in January to March 2013 which follows a surplus of 52 kt in the whole of 2012. Reported stocks rose by 122 kt during March and ended the month 244 kt higher than at the end of 2012. 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 2013 was 4.26 million tonnes which was 7 per cent higher than in the same period in 2012. Global refined production rose to 5.2 million tonnes up 5.2 per cent compared with the previous year with significant increases recorded in China (up 247 kt) and recoveries in Japan and Philippines more than compensating for the 48 kt fall in Chilean output.

Global consumption for January to March 2013 was 4951 kt and the comparable figure for the first quarter of 2012 was 5138 kt. Chinese apparent consumption in January to March 2013 fell by 149 kt to 2055 kt which represented just over 41 per cent of global demand. EU27 demand was, at 770 kt, 4 per cent below the January to March 2013 total.

In March 2013, refined copper production was 1795.6 kt and consumption was 1668.4 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to March 2013

The lead market was in deficit by 145.7 kt in January to March 2013 which follows a surplus of 85.2 kt recorded in the whole of 2012. Total stocks at the end of March were 41.3 kt higher than at the end of 2012. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

Lead mine production was 1131.8 kt which was 6 per cent below the total recorded for the previous year. The fall in production of concentrates is largely due to lower output in China where production fell by 86.5 kt. Refined production from both primary and secondary sources was 2524 kt. Global production rose by 5.9 per cent and demand was 308 kt higher. Apparent consumption in China totalled 1076 kt of lead in January to March 2013 which was 170 kt above the comparable period in 2012 and represented 40 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has increased by 91 kt due to higher reported imports from Australia.

In March 2013, refined lead production was 901.4 kt and consumption was 960.7 kt.

Zinc market records surplus in January to March 2013

The zinc market was in surplus by 141 kt during January to March 2013 which compares with a surplus of 243 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks fell by 15 kt in the first three months of this year. Almost all of the decrease recorded at LME warehouses. LME stocks represented 61 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand rose by 8.5 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China rose by 8.6 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2012. Chinese imports in March recovered to 73.5 kt from the very low total of 20.2 recorded in February.

Global refined production rose by 5.8 per cent and consumption rose by 6.6 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 106.3 kt, 10.3 per cent below the equivalent total for January to March 2013.

World demand was 193 kt higher than in the first quarter of 2012. Chinese apparent demand was 1399.6 kt which is just under 45 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In March 2013 slab zinc production was 1132.6 and consumption 1114.9 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to March 2013

The Nickel market was in surplus during January to March 2013 with production exceeding apparent demand by 7.0 kt. In the whole of 2012 the calculated surplus was 130.4 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of March were 25 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to March totalled 461.0 kt and demand was 454.0 kt.

Mine production during January to March was 536.3 kt, 121 kt above the comparable 2012 total. Japanese refinery output increased by 4.3 kt compared with 2012 and apparent demand was 2.2 kt higher than in 2012.

World apparent demand was 37 kt higher than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In March 2013, nickel smelter production was 156.1 kt and consumption was 150.5 kt.


Tin market records surplus in January to March 2013

The tin market recorded a surplus of 2.9 kt during January to March 2013 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks rose slightly during March and ended the month 1.2 kt higher than December 2012. Almost all recorded stocks are now held in Asia.

Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was down by 5.1 kt, compared with January to March 2012. Apparent demand in China was 9.9 per cent lower than during the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to March 2013 was 83.0 kt which was 8.3 per cent below the comparable period of 2012. Japanese consumption was 5.7 kt which was 9.4 per cent below the comparable total for 2012.

In March 2013, refined production was 30.0 kt and demand was 28.9 kt


Dated 22nd May 2013
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The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics May 2013 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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