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Press Release December 2020
16/12/2020


January to October 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 October 2020

The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for the period of January to October 2020 was a surplus of 1709 kt which follows a surplus of 479 kt recorded for the whole of 2019. Demand for primary aluminium for January to October 2020 was 53.77 million tonnes, 599 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 October 2020 rose by 3.9 per cent. Total reported stocks rose slightly in October to close at the end of the period 70 kt above the December 2019 level. Shanghai stocks rose steadily in the early months, fell in the second quarter and rose slightly in October to close at the end of October at 233 kt. This compares with 185.1 at the end of December 2019. LME stocks were 1461 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 October 2020 by 3.9 per cent compared with the first ten months of 2019. Chinese output was estimated at 30,628 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 10.9 per cent higher than in January to October 2019 and the output of semi-manufactures rose by 8.6 per cent. China became a net importer of unwrought aluminium in 2020. During January to October 2020 Chinese net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 3513 kt which compares with 4032 kt for January to October 2019. Exports of semi manufactures fell by 11 per cent compared with the January to October 2019 total.

Production for January to October in the EU28 was 2.1 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output increased by 4.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 1174 kt lower than the comparable 2019 total. Global demand rose by 1.1 per cent during January to October 2020 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.

In October primary aluminium production was 5620.7 kt and demand was 5483.4 kt.

Copper market in deficit in January to October 2020

The copper market recorded a deficit of 1143 kt in January to October 2020 which follows a deficit of 383 kt in the whole of 2019. Reported stocks at the end of October 2020 were 64 kt higher than at the end of December 2019. This increase includes net deliveries of 25 kt into LME warehouses and Comex stocks rose by 36.2 kt. Shanghai stocks rose by 16.1 kt during the ten month period. 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 October 2020 was 17.13 million tonnes which was 0.1 per cent lower than in the same period in 2019. Global refined production for January to October 2020 was 19.66 million tonnes up 2.0 per cent compared with the previous year with significant increases recorded in China (up 752 kt) and in Chile (up 89 kt).

Global demand for January to October 2020 was 20.80 million tonnes compared with 19.6 million tonnes for the same months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand for the period January to October 2020 was 12.2 million tonnes which was 18.2 per cent higher than the first ten months of 2019. EU28 production rose by 2.6 per cent and demand was 177 kt lower than the comparable 2019 total.

In October 2020, refined copper production was 2033.7 kt and demand was 2250.1 kt.

Lead market records deficit in January to October 2020

The lead market recorded a deficit of 57 kt in January to October 2020 which follows a deficit of 278 kt recorded in the whole of 2019. Total stocks at the end of October were 38 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 October 2020 from both primary and secondary sources was 10727 kt which was 3.5 per cent higher than in the comparable months of 2019. Chinese apparent demand was estimated at 5115 kt which was 331 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 92 kt for January to October 2020 compared to the same months of 2019.

In October 2020, refined lead production was 1159.4 kt and demand was 1186.5 kt.

Zinc market records surplus in January to October 2020

The zinc market was in surplus by 293 kt during January to October 2020 which compares with a deficit of 76 kt recorded in the whole of the previous year. Reported stocks increased by 200 kt during January to October which included a net increase in Shanghai of 32.3 kt over the period. LME stocks rose over the January to October period to close 168 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 1.6 per cent and demand was 1.8 per cent lower than the levels recorded one year earlier. Japanese apparent demand was, at 324.3 kt, 25 per cent below the equivalent total for January to October 2019.

World demand was 199 kt lower than for January to October 2019. Chinese apparent demand was 5685 kt which is 51 per cent of the global total. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for unreported stock changes.

In October 2020 slab zinc production was 1221.2 kt and demand 1226.9 kt.

Nickel market records surplus in January to October 2020

The nickel market was in surplus during January to October 2020 with production exceeding apparent demand by 63.7 kt. In the whole of 2019, the calculated deficit was 27.6 kt. Reported stocks held in the LME at the end of October 2020 were 85.7 kt higher than at the end of the previous year. Refined production in January to October 2020 totalled 1958.6 kt and demand was 1894.9 kt.

Mine production during January to October was 1886.2 kt, 238 kt below the comparable 2019 total. Chinese smelter/refinery output fell by 98 kt compared with 2019 and apparent demand was 1058.1 kt, 16 kt lower than in the previous year.

World apparent demand was 126 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 October 2020, nickel smelter/refinery production was 225.2 kt and demand was 210.0 kt.


Tin market records deficit in January to October 2020

The tin market recorded a deficit of 18.7 kt during January to October 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 8.2 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 11.7 kt, compared with the January to October 2019 total. Apparent demand in China was 16.5 per cent higher than the equivalent period of the previous year.

Global tin demand during January to October 2020 was 317.1 kt which was 2.1 per cent higher than the comparable period of 2019. Japanese demand was 16.9 kt which was 21 per cent below the comparable total for January to October 2019.

In October 2020, refined production was 31.9 kt and consumption was 32.4 kt


Dated 16th December 2020


- ENDS-





The above data are taken from World Metal Statistics December 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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