Feb. 18 -- Preliminary data on world supply and demand for all the LME metals in 2010 published this week by the World Bureau of Metals Statistics (WBMS) showed that nickel and tin registered the fastest growth in apparent consumption last year. WBMS calculates apparent consumption from production, trade and reported stocks data. Apparent consumption of tin increased by 16.3%, just exceeded by the 16.8% growth calculated for nickel. The other relatively fast growing market was aluminium, up 14.1%, while zinc also registered double-digit growth of 10.9%. Apparent consumption of copper and lead rose more slowly, at 5.4% and 4.8% respectively.
WBMS notes in its release that the apparent stock calculations may in some cases by distorted by changes in unreported stocks. These may over-state last year’s growth rates if there was unreported de-stocking in 2009 or re-stocking in 2010. ITRI’s own direct surveys of actual tin use indicate that global usage increased by about 13% last year.
WBMS also calculated that tin was the only one of the six LME primary metals with a significant supply deficit in 2010. Supply and demand for copper, lead and nickel were estimated to be finely balanced, while the aluminium and zinc markets were in surplus.