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Press Release November 2020
18/11/2020


January to September 2020 METALS BALANCES

Please note that the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on both the supply and demand for metals worldwide. The true impact of the lockdown in many countries will emerge over the next few months. Demand for most countries is calculated on an apparent basis. Metal shipments are in transit for some weeks and stock levels are under reported and so it is likely that the demand for all metals will be overstated for the next few months.

Primary aluminium market in surplus in January to September 2020

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for the period or January to September 2020 was a surplus of 1603 kt which follows a surplus of 480 kt recorded for the whole of 2019. Demand for primary aluminium for January to September 2020 was 48.26 million tonnes, 417 kt more than in the comparable period in 2019. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics. Production in January to September 2020 rose by 3.9 per cent. Total reported stocks rose early in the year but declined the latest quarter to close at the end of the period 54 kt above the December 2019 level. Shanghai stocks rose steadily in the early months but fell by 300 kt in the second quarter and closed at the end of September at 230 kt. This compares with 185.1 at the end of December 2019. LME stocks were 1451 kt which compares with 1473 kt at the end of 2019. 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 September 2020 by 3.9 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2019. Chinese output was estimated at 27428 kt based on higher availability of imported bauxite and alumina, and this currently accounts for about 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 9.9 per cent higher than in January to September 2019 and the output of semi-manufactures rose by 12 per cent. China became a net importer of unwrought aluminium in 2020. During January to September 2020 Chinese net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 3669 kt which compares with 4807 kt for January to September 2019. Exports of semi manufactures fell by 24 per cent compared with the January to September 2019 total.

Production for January to September in the EU28 was 1 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output increased by 4.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 1087 kt lower than the comparable 2019 total. Global demand rose by 0.87 per cent during January to September 2020 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In September 2020, primary aluminium production was 5596.7 kt and demand was 5465.9 kt.

Copper market in deficit in January to September 2020

The copper market recorded a deficit of 887 kt in January to September 2020 which follows a deficit of 383 kt in the whole of 2019. Reported stocks at the end of September 2020 were 109 kt higher than at the end of December 2019. This increase includes net deliveries of 18 kt into LME warehouses and Comex stocks rose by 37.1 kt. Shanghai stocks rose by 46.9 kt during January and September. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes, particularly in the Chinese government stockpile.

World mine production in January to September 2020 was 15.31 million tonnes which was 0.4 per cent lower than in the same period in 2019. Global refined production for January to September 2020 was 17.6 million tonnes up 2.7 per cent compared with the previous year with significant increases recorded in China (up 707 kt) and in Chile (up 98 kt).

Global demand for January to September 2020 was 18.5 million tonnes compared with 17.6 million tonnes for the same months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to September 2020 was 10.8 million tonnes which was 18.4 per cent higher than the first nine months of 2019. EU28 production rose by 0.8 per cent and demand was 185 kt lower than the comparable 2019 total.

In September 2020, refined copper production was 2025.1 kt and demand was 2241.5 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to September 2020

The lead market recorded a deficit of 32 kt in January to September 2020 which follows a deficit of 278 kt recorded in the whole of 2019. Total stocks at the end of September were 45 kt higher than at the end of 2019. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics.

World refined production during January to September 2020 from both primary and secondary sources was 9582 kt which was 3.5 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 4514 kt which was 251 kt higher than the comparable period in 2019 and represented about 47 per cent of the global total. For the USA, apparent demand has decreased by 91 kt for January to September 2020 compared to the same months of 2019.

In September 2020, refined lead production was 1146.4 kt and demand was 1146.5 kt.

Zinc market records surplus in January to September 2020

The zinc market was in surplus by 328 kt during January to September 2020 which compares with a deficit of 76 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks increased by 185 kt during January to September which included a net increase in Shanghai of 23.7 kt over the period. LME stocks rose over the January to September period to close 161 kt above the December 2019 level. LME stocks represent 32 per cent of the global total with the bulk of the metal held in Asian and US warehouses. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics.

Global refined production rose by 0.9 per cent and demand was 3.1 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 295.1 kt, 24 per cent below the equivalent total for January to September 2019.

World demand was 316 kt lower than for January to September 2019. Chinese apparent demand was 5005 kt which is 51 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In September 2020 slab zinc production was 1172.7 kt and demand 1154.0 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to September 2020

The nickel market was in surplus during January to September 2020 with production exceeding apparent demand by 50 kt. In the whole of 2019, the calculated deficit was 27.6 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of September 2020 were 82.8 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to September 2020 totalled 1691.7 kt and demand was 1641.5 kt.

Mine production during January to September was 1670.5 kt, 216 kt below the comparable 2019 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output fell by 125 kt compared with 2019 and apparent demand was 889.7 kt, 71 kt lower than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 169 kt lower than the previous year. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics.

In September 2020, nickel smelter/refinery production was 205.6 kt and demand was 206.1 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to September 2020

The tin market recorded a deficit of 17.8 kt during January to September 2020 and there were no DLA deliveries during the period. Chinese demand is calculated on an apparent basis using reported stocks on the Shanghai exchange. Total reported stocks were 9.0 kt lower than at the end of 2019. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics.

Global reported production of refined metal was down by 20 kt, compared with the January to September 2019 total. Apparent demand in China was 10 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to September 2020 was 278.0 kt which was 0.7 per cent lower than the comparable period of 2019. Japanese demand was 15.5 kt which was 19.6 per cent below the comparable total for January to September 2019.

In September 2020, refined production was 30.6 kt and consumption was 31.6 kt


Dated 17th November 2020


- ENDS-





The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics November 2020 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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