Global Refined Lead Demand Outstripped Supply by 91,000 tonnes

The latest statistics published by the Lisbon, Portugal-based International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) indicates that global refined Lead market ended in deficit during the initial five months of the current year. This is upon comparison with the corresponding period last year. The total reported stock levels of the metal increased during this period. The permanent closures of certain mines coupled with downscaling of mining activities have resulted in mine supply constraints.

The ILZSG preliminary data indicates that world lead metal demand exceeded supply, thereby pushing the market to a deficit of 91,000 tonnes during the initial five months of 2017. The total reported lead inventories increased marginally by 23,000 tonnes over the same period.

The lead mine production reported increase in China. India too reported significant increase in mine output. However, the increase in production was more than balanced by decline in other major producing countries including Australia and Peru. The overall global lead mine production soared nearly 12.7% during Jan-May ’17 when compared with the corresponding five-month period in 2016. The world lead mine output during the five-month period this year totaled 2.150 million tonnes as compared with 1.907 million tonnes during the corresponding period in 2016.

The refined lead metal production during the five-month period totaled 4.882 million tonnes, significantly higher by almost 7.2% when compared with the 4.554 million tonnes output during corresponding period in 2016. The refined lead metal production reported significant jump in China. The rise in output by other countries including India, the Republic of Korea and the United States too contributed to the yearly metal output growth.

The global demand for refined lead metal increased sharply by 10.3% to 4.973 million tonnes during January to May this year. The European apparent usage increased marginally by 1.7%. Chinese apparent usage surged higher by 13.7%. The refined metal demand in the United States was up significantly by 23.3% during the first five months of 2017.

The Chinese imports of lead contained in lead concentrates totaled 272,000 tonnes, falling by nearly 5% year-on-year. The net imports of refined lead metal by the country amounted to 41,000 tonnes.

The ILZSG preliminary data indicates that monthly global lead mine output totaled 430,800 tonnes during May this year. The global refined zinc metal production totaled 959,800 tonnes, whereas global zinc usage totaled 989,900 tonnes during the month.

Meantime, lead prices have continued its outperformance, rising nearly 13% during the past one month itself. The metal prices are up by nearly 18% since the start of 2017.