Primary aluminum balances rose by 349,000mt in the first four months of the year to around 1.1mn mt, according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).
At the end of 2019, aluminum surplus stood at 749,000mt. Demand for the metal also increased in January-April 2020 to 20.67mn mt, rising by 199,000mt from 20.47mt during the same period last year. However, WBMS noted the full impact of lockdowns during the period might not be reflected in the current figures since it measures the metric on an apparent basis.
In the first four months of the year, aluminum production also increased by 4.6pc compared to the same period in 2019, according to WBMS, with Chinese production making up for more than half of total global aluminum output. Global production in April alone stood at 5.39mn mt, while demand was slightly lower at 5.26mn mt.
China produced 11.81mn mt of the total global production in the first four months of the year, even as domestic demand in the country rose by 3.6pc compared with January-April 2019. The additional demand during the period made China a net importer of unwrought aluminum during the period. However, the country’s output of aluminum semis rose by 5pc. Exports of the material, however, fell to around 1.45mn mt during the first four months of the year from 1.61mn mt during the same period last year.
Looking at the rest of the world, WBMS noted that aluminum production in the EU fell by 1.7pc during the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period last year amid lower demand, which was weaker by 331,000mt from the end of 2019. North America’s output, on the other hand, increased by 4.2pc during the same period under comparison.
Lead deficit rises, zinc in surplus
The WBMS data also indicated the lead deficit increased to 83,000mt in January-April 2020 compared with 237,000mt during the whole of 2019, as refined lead production decreased during the period.
Global refined lead production decreased by 4.6pc to around 3.9mn mt during the first four months of the year compared to January-April 2019 in tandem with decreased demand in China and the US, two major consumers of the material.
In April, refined lead production was reported at 1.02mn mt and demand was slightly higher at 1.06mn mt.
The zinc market, however, was in surplus by 51,000mt during the same period compared with a deficit of 75,000mt at the end of 2019. Global production and demand for the metal increased during the period by 2.5pc and 0.7pc, respectively, compared with January-April 2019.
In April, zinc slab production was reported at 1.08mn mt, slightly below than demand, which stood at 1.13mn mt.