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Copper only base metal in deficit from January to May

Keywords: Tags  copper, aluminum, zinc, lead, nickel, supply, consumption, WBMS

LONDON — Copper was the only base metal to log a global deficit in the January-to-May period of 2012, according to the Hertfordshire, England-based World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).

The red metal recorded a deficit of 94,000 tonnes in the five-month period in contrast to a 421,000-tonne surplus in 2011.

The deficit was recorded despite world production in January to May that rose by 2.4 percent from the corresponding period in 2011.

Global refined production rose 3.4 percent on marked increases in Iran and India. Chilean output fell by 80,000 tonnes.

Global consumption was 8.4 million tonnes, compared with 19.4 million tonnes in all of 2011.

Chinese apparent consumption rose by 800,000 tonnes to 3.6 million tonnes.

In May 2012, both refined copper production and consumption were about 1.6 million tonnes.

Five other base metals were in surplus, with primary aluminum recording a surplus of 592,000 tonnes in the five-month period on top of a 1.7-million-tonne surplus from 2011.

Aluminum production in the first five months of 2011 rose by 660,000 tonnes from the same period in 2011, with 7.8 million tonnes produced in China. Total reported stocks fell by 160,000 tonnes during May and reached 7.05 million tonnes at the end of the month, down from 7.1 million tonnes at the end of 2011.

Lead and zinc markets were in a surplus by 9,800 tonnes and 253,000 tonnes, respectively, in January to May. In the whole of 2011, lead and zinc surpluses were more than double the figures recorded in the period.

The nickel market was in surplus during the period as well, with production exceeding apparent demand by 26,000 tonnes.

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