Commodities Buzz: Global Primary Aluminium Demand Slips 2.4% In First Five Months Of 2018

Global primary aluminium market was in slight deficit in January to April 2018, according to a latest data release from the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS). The calculated market balance for primary aluminium for January to April was a deficit of 91 kt which follows a deficit of 1022 kt recorded for the whole of 2017. April trade data for China is not available for technical reasons. Demand for primary aluminium for January to April 2018 was 19.77 million tonnes, 489 kt less than in the same four months of 2017.

Production in January to April 2018 fell by 51 kt compared with the same period in 2017. Producer stock data is no longer published and total reported stocks rose by 112 kt during March and by a further 17 kt in April. The increases included net deliveries into the Malaysian LME warehouses of 208 kt. Total stocks at the end of April 2018 were 2757 kt which compares with 2346 kt at the end of 2017. Total stocks held in the four exchanges in London, Shanghai, USA and Tokyo were 2328 kt at the end of April 2018 which was 440 kt above the December 2017 total.

Overall, global production fell in January to April 2018 by 0.3 per cent compared with the first four months of 2017. Chinese output was estimated at 10891 kt and this currently accounts for about 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 1.0 per cent lower than in January to April 2017. Chinese net exports were 103 kt in January to March and net exports of unwrought aluminium for the whole of 2017 were 365 kt. WBMS estimates that exports of aluminium semi manufactures by China were 390 kt in April bringing the year to date figure to 1527 kt which is 34% higher than the comparable period in 2017.

Production in the EU28 was 1.3 per cent higher than the previous year and NAFTA output fell by 5.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 39 kt lower than the comparable 2017 total. Global demand fell by 2.4 per cent during January to April 2018 compared with the levels recorded one year previously. In April 2018, primary aluminium production was 4966.7 kt and consumption was 4954.5 kt.