World Bureau of Metal Statistics recently announced that the calculated market balance for primary aluminium for the period or January to September 2020 was a surplus of 1603 kt which follows a surplus of 480 kt recorded for the whole of 2019. Demand for primary aluminium for January to September 2020 was 48.26 million tonnes, 417 kt more than in the comparable period in 2019. Demand is measured on an apparent basis and it is likely that the full effects of national lockdowns have not been fully reflected in the trade statistics. Production in January to September 2020 rose by 3.9 per cent. Total reported stocks rose early in the year but declined the latest quarter to close at the end of the period 54 kt above the December 2019 level. Shanghai stocks rose steadily in the early months but fell by 300 kt in the second quarter and closed at the end of September at 230 kt. This compares with 185.1 at the end of December 2019. LME stocks were 1451 kt which compares with 1473 kt at the end of 2019. No allowance is made in the consumption calculation for large unreported stock changes especially those held in Asia.
Overall, global production rose in January to September 2020 by 3.9 per cent compared with the first nine months of 2019. Chinese output was estimated at 27428 kt based on higher availability of imported bauxite and alumina, and this currently accounts for about 55 per cent of the world production total. Chinese apparent demand was 9.9 per cent higher than in January to September 2019 and the output of semi-manufactures rose by 12 per cent. China became a net importer of unwrought aluminium in 2020. During January to September 2020 Chinese net exports of aluminium semi manufactures were 3669 kt which compares with 4807 kt for January to September 2019. Exports of semi manufactures fell by 24 per cent compared with the January to September 2019 total.
Production for January to September in the EU28 was 1 per cent lower than the previous year and NAFTA output increased by 4.1 per cent. EU28 demand was 1087 kt lower than the comparable 2019 total. Global demand rose by 0.87 per cent during January to September 2020 compared with the levels recorded one year previously.
In September 2020, primary aluminium production was 5596.7 kt and demand was 5465.9 kt.