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WBMS May 2015 Press Release
20/05/2015

January to March 2015 METALS BALANCES


Primary aluminium market records small deficit in January to March 2015

The calculated market deficit for primary aluminium for January to March 2015 was 95 kt which follows a deficit of 738 kt recorded for the whole of 2014. Demand for primary aluminium for January and March 2015 was 13.86 million tonnes 1693 kt more than the first three months of 2014. Production in January to March 2015 rose by 1731 kt compared with 2014. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 16 kt during March and at the end of the month were 4807 kt which equated to just under 35 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 4187 kt at the end of March 2015 which was 259 kt below the December 2014 total. 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 2015 rose by 14.4 per cent compared with the first three months of 2014. Chinese output was estimated at 7511 kt and this currently accounts for 54.5 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 26 per cent higher than 2014. Chinese net exports were 110 kt in January to March and net exports for the whole of 2014 were 313 kt.

Production in the EU28 rose by 2.7 per cent and NAFTA output fell by 4.0 per cent. EU28 demand was 12 kt lower than the comparable 2014 total. Global demand rose by 13.9 per cent during January to March compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In March 2015, primary aluminium production was 4962.8 kt and consumption was 5015.6 kt.

Copper market records surplus in January to March 2015

The copper market recorded a surplus of 179 kt in January to March 2015 which follows a surplus of 244 kt in the whole of 2014. Reported stocks rose by 256 kt over the first three months of 2015. 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 2015 was 4.69 million tonnes which was 3.6 per cent higher than in the same period in 2014. Global refined production rose to 5.57 million tonnes up 4.7 per cent compared with the previous year with a significant increase recorded in China (up 196 kt).

Global consumption for January to March 2015 was 5392 kt compared to 5365 kt for the same months of 2014. Chinese apparent consumption in January to March 2015 rose by 11 kt to 2540 kt which represented 47 per cent of global demand. EU28 production grew by 2.5 per cent and demand was, at 818 kt, 2.4 per cent above the January to March 2014 total.

In March 2015, refined copper production was 1893.1 kt and consumption was 1887.3 kt.

Lead market records small surplus in January to March 2015

The lead market was in surplus by 3.8 kt in January to March 2015 which follows a deficit of 15 kt recorded in the whole of 2014. Total stocks at the end of March were 13.7 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 March 2015 from both primary and secondary sources was 2364 kt which was 7.5 per cent lower than in the comparable months of 2014. Global demand was 215 kt lower. Apparent consumption in China totalled 979 kt of lead in January to March 2015 which was 61.8 kt below the comparable period in 2014 and represented just over 41 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 19.5 kt.

In March 2015, refined lead production was 791.6 kt and consumption was 799.7 kt.




Zinc market records surplus in January to March 2015

The zinc market was in surplus by 173 kt during January to March 2015 which compares with a deficit of 153 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks fell by 124 kt during the January to March 2015. LME stocks fell by 53.6 kt in March and ended the month 180 kt lower than at the end of 2014. LME stocks represent 48 per cent of the global total. Chinese demand rose by 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year. Production of locally refined metal in China rose by 14.9 per cent compared with 2014. Chinese imports of mostly special high grade metal were 40.9 kt in February which brought the year to date figure to 81 kt, 116 kt lower than January to March 2014.

Global refined production rose by 7.5 per cent and consumption rose by 2.3 per cent compared with the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese demand was, at 113.6 kt, 8.5 per cent below the equivalent total for January to March 2014.

World demand was 75 kt higher than the January to March 2014. Chinese apparent demand was 1447 kt which is just over 44 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In March 2015 slab zinc production was 1160.8 and consumption 1097.4 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to March 2015

The Nickel market was in surplus during January to March 2015 with production exceeding apparent demand by 32.9 kt. In the whole of 2014 the calculated surplus was 219.6 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of March were 18 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to March totalled 433.6 kt and demand was 400.7 kt.

Mine production during January to March was 538.9 kt, 69.3 kt above the comparable 2014. The Indonesian export ban and the assumed drastic decline in local mine production began at the beginning of 2014. Japanese smelter/refinery output increased by 4.4 kt compared with 2014 and apparent demand was 1.2 kt higher than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 40 kt lower than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes

In March 2015, nickel smelter/refinery production was 147.8 kt and consumption was 137.1 kt.


Tin market records surplus in January to March 2015

The tin market recorded a surplus of 0.5 kt during January to March 2015 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Total reported stocks fell by 1.1 kt during March and ended the period 2.4 kt lower than December 2014.

Global reported production of refined metal (excluding re-processed LME metal) was down by 3.6 kt, compared with January to March 2014. Apparent demand in China was 7.2 per cent lower than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to March 2014 was 87.4 kt which was 5 per cent below the comparable period of 2014. Japanese consumption was 7.4 kt which was 1.2 kt above the comparable total for 2014.

In March 2015, refined production was 28.0 kt and demand was 26.8 kt


Dated 20th May 2015
- ENDS-


The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics May 2015 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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Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information contained in this release WBMS and its Board of Directors can accept no responsibility for any losses incurred as a direct result of any actions based on conclusions drawn from the data.

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