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

The global primary aluminum market hit a surplus of 908,000mt in the first five months of the year, according to the latest World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS) data.


The global zinc market also saw a surplus of 126,000mt in the January-May 2020 period while the lead market had a 10,000mt deficit during the same period.


Aluminum production, demand rise

The global demand for aluminum in January-May 2020 rose by 285,000mt to 26.33mn mt compared with the first five months of 2019. However, WBMS pointed out that the data for demand was measured on an apparent basis because of COVID-19 related lockdowns during that period because of which, the volumes would not reflect the full impact of those lockdowns. 


In May, global primary aluminum production stood at 5.45mn mt, while global demand was at 5.39mn mt.


Primary aluminum production increased by 4pc in the first five months of the year with production from China accounting for more than half (54pc) of global aluminum production due to higher availability of bauxite and alumina in the country during that period. China produced an estimated 14.79mn mt of aluminum in January-May 2020. Demand in the Asian nation also ticked up by 3.9pc compared with January-May 2019 and semi-manufactured aluminum production rose by 6.4pc. 


However, China’s semi-manufactured aluminum exports during the first five months of 2020 fell to 1.78mn mt from 2.06mn mt during the same period last year.


Aluminum production in the EU fell by 2.2pc in January-May 2020 compared with the first five months in 2019, while demand in the region declined by 554,000mt during the same period. In North America, aluminum output increased by 4.5pc during the same period under comparison, WBMS noted.


Zinc in surplus, lead records deficit again

The zinc market, which had recorded a deficit of 63,000mt for the whole of 2019, saw a surplus of 126,000mt in January-May 2020. The lead market, on the other hand, continued to record a deficit through the first five months of the year, after being 238,000mt in deficit at the end of 2019.


In May, both zinc production and demand were balanced at 1.12mnt mt, while refined lead production stood at 1.06mn mt against a demand of 1.04mn mt 


The demand for zinc also decreased during the period by 0.7pc led by a 10pc decline in apparent demand in Japan to 196,000mt compared with January-May 2020. Demand from China made up around 48pc of the global zinc demand at 2.62mn mt. 


The demand for lead in China was 130,000mt lower at 2.21mn mt during January-May 2020. Demand from China represented around 44pc of total global demand for the material. Apparent demand for lead also decreased in the US by 19,000mt during the same period under comparison.

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