Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Global primary aluminum, lead, and zinc markets recorded a surplus in the first eight months of the year, according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).


The data, released on Wednesday indicated global aluminum surplus rose from 500,000mt at the end of 2019 to 1.53mn mt in the January-August this year. The lead market, which had reported a 278,000mt deficit in 2019 was 44,000mt in surplus in the first eight months of the year, and zinc, which had reported a deficit of 76,000mt saw a surplus of 260,000mt during the same period.


Aluminum demand up

Demand for aluminum rose by 203,000mt to 42.79mn mt in January-August on an annual basis. The metal’s global output also rose by 3.8pc in the first eight months of the year from the same period last year with China’s aluminum production, which was estimated at 24.28mn mt, making up for around 55pc of the global volume. In August, global primary aluminum output stood at around 5.76mn mt.


The apparent demand in China increased by 8.9pc from January-August 2019, while its semi-manufactured output climbed by 6.2pc during the same eight months under comparison. However, the country’s aluminum exports decreased in January-August to 2.77mn mt from 3.29mn mt during the first eight months of 2019.


Aluminum production rose by 0.5pc in the EU and by 4.5pc in North America. Global demand also rose by 0.48pc during the period, though demand in the EU lagged by 934,000mt compared with January-August 2019. 


Refined lead and zinc production rises

In the first eight months, refined lead production rose to 8.55mn mt, 4.9pc above the output in January-August 2019. Zinc production also increased by 1.5pc during the same period, WBMS indicated without disclosing the actual volumes. 


In August, global refined lead production was estimated at 1.16mn mt, and demand was at around 1.14mn mt. Zinc production and demand during the same month  estimated at 1.15mn mt and 1.14mn mt, respectively. Apparent lead demand in China increased by 228,000mt to 3.96mn mt during the period under comparison but fell by 68,000mt in the US.


Global demand for zinc fell by 2.2pc or 192,000mt in the first eight months of the year on an annual basis with 4.39mn mt in demand from China making up half of the global demand. Apparent demand in Japan, a key zinc consumer, fell by 22pc to 265,000mt during the period under consideration.

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