Global Lead, Zinc Demand Forecast to Rise in 2019

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Supply & Demand

Björn Wylezich/Adobe Stock

The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) convened its 63rd session earlier this month in Lisbon, Portugal, during which it reviewed global demand forecasts for this year and next with respect to zinc and lead.

Global Zinc Picture

According to ILZSG, global zinc demand is set to rise by 0.4% in 2018 to 13.74 million tons (MT) and by 1.1% in 2019 (up to 13.88 MT).

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In China, zinc demand is projected to fall 0.5% this year, while increasing just 0.8% in 2019.

Apparent zinc usage in the U.S. is projected to increase 2.1% this year and 0.9% in 2019. Elsewhere, demand is expected to rise in Europe by 1.6% this year and 1.0% in 2019. It’s also projected to rise in India, and remain stable in Japan and South Korea.

On the supply side, zinc mine production is projected to rise 2% in 2018 and 6.4% in 2019.

The global zinc market is projected to be in deficit both this year and next. According to the report, demand will exceed supply by 322kt in 2018, and by 72kt in 2019.

Lead Market

Lead demand growth is on the more modest size, projected to hit 0.2% in 2018 and 0.7% in 2019.

China’s lead usage is projected to fall this year and next.

“In 2018, Chinese apparent usage is expected to fall by 0.6% influenced by a combination of reductions in the motorcycle and e-bike sectors as consequence of increased penetration by lithium-ion batteries and a slower growth in the automotive sector,” the ILZSG report states. “Increases in the e-trike production are not expected to be sufficient to offset this declining trend. A further 1.3% fall in apparent usage in China is anticipated in 2019.”

European lead usage is forecast to rise 1.4% and 1.8% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Meanwhile, U.S. usage is forecast to decline this year by 0.6% and rise 2.5% in 2019.

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On the supply side, global lead mine supply is forecast to fall by 0.4% this year and rise by 4.1% in 2019.

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