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World Zinc & Nickel markets record surplus

World Zinc & Nickel markets record surplus

22 May 2017


The worldwide zinc market has recorded surplus during January to March this year. It must be noted that the zinc market had ended in deficit in the whole of 2016.

As per WBMS data, the global zinc market recorded surplus of 86 kt during the initial three months of the current year from January to March. It should be noted that the worldwide zinc market had reported a deficit of 235 kt during the entire year 2016.

Global refined zinc production climbed higher by 4.40% during the initial three-month period of 2017. The Chinese production of locally refined zinc too has increased by nearly 4.40% when compared with 2016.

The global demand for the metal witnessed rise of 95 kt when matched with January to March in 2016. The Chinese apparent demand totaled 1,510 kt and accounted for nearly 45.4% of the global total. The Japanese demand for the metal surged higher significantly by 20% when matched with the levels recorded during Jan-March ’16. The demand during the three-month period totaled 138.8 kt.

The reported stock of the metal jumped higher by 21 kt during the month of March this year. Also, LME zinc stocks dropped by 13,000 tonnes during the month of March and accounted for 37% of the global stock of the metal. The LME stock levels at the end of March this year were 57.0 kt lower when matched with end-2016 levels.

The Chinese zinc metal imports, mostly special high grade zinc dropped by 123.0 kt during Jan-March ’17 to 58 kt when compared with the imports during the same period last year. The imports of metal by China totaled 26 kt during the month of March this year.

The zinc slab production during March ’17 totaled 1,146.80 kt and the consumption totaled 1,135.60 kt.


Global nickel market ended in marginal surplus of 3,300 tonnes during the initial three-month period of the year from January to March with apparent production exceeding demand. The calculated full year deficit had stood at 62 kt during the whole year 2016, according to WBMS.

The statistics indicate that that reported stockpiles maintained by LME were 4.4 kt higher at the end of the first quarter this year when matched with the closing levels of 2016.


World Nickel mine production was 417 kt in January-March 2017, considerably lower by 47.0 kt when compared with the corresponding period during previous year. The ban on exports by Indonesian administration has led to reduced mine output from the country. In addition, the local mine production from the country has continued to remain extremely weak ever since the beginning of 2014.

Refined Nickel production in Jan-Mar ’17 was 391.5 kt. The Chinese smelter/refinery production during the initial three-month period of the year witnessed decline of 17.0 kt compared to 2016. Meantime, demand edged lower by 70 kt in comparison with the previous year, mainly on account of reduced imports of Nickel metal from Russia. The total smelter/refinery production of Nickel was 129.6 kt in March 2017.


The world apparent demand in Q1 ’17 was down by 43.0 kt when matched with the year before. Nickel smelter consumption was 143.70 kt in March this year.

The refined Nickel demand during the first quarter of the year totaled 388.20 kt.