According to monthly data from the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), the global zinc market posted a deficit of 189,000 tons in 2019.
Meanwhile, lead supply exceeded demand by 8,000 tons in 2019, according to the ILZSG.
Zinc production rises
Zinc mine production reached 12.90 million tons in 2019, up from 12.78 million tons in 2018. Refined zinc production totaled 13.54 million tons, up from 13.17 million tons in 2018.
Mine output increased in Australia, South Africa, Canada and China, while European production dropped 2.1%.
As for refined zinc production, production increased in China, Mexico and Peru.
“However, production was lower in Australia, Canada, India, Kazakhstan and Europe, mainly influenced by lower output in France and the Netherlands and a significant reduction in Russian output due to the permanent closure of Electrozink’s 100kt per year capacity Vladikavkaz plant in October 2018,” the ILZSG reported.
Zinc metal usage ticked up slightly, reaching 13.72 million tons, up from 13.69 million tons in 2018.
Average cash zinc prices plummeted last year, dropping by 12.9% on the LME and by 13.6% on the SHFE.
Lead posts supply surplus of 8 kt
As for lead, the ILZSG reported supply exceeded demand by 8,000 tons in 2019.
Lead mine production reached 4.71 million tons, up from 4.67 million tons in 2018. China’s lead mine output fell by 1.7%, while output increased in Europe, Australia, Canada, Mexico Peru and South Africa.
Refined lead production totaled 11.75 million tons, down from 11.79 million tons in 2018. Secondary production from recycled scrap increased to 63.5% of total global production last year, up from 62.5% in 2018.
Lead usage fell to 11.74 million tons from 11.87 million tons in 2018.
China’s imports of lead contained in lead concentrates increased by 36% in 2019 to 938,000 tons.
Average cash lead prices fell on the LME and SHFE by 10.9% and 12.9%, respectively, in 2019.