ILZSG: Lead and zinc demand forecast to drop 6.5%, 5.3%

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The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) forecast global lead and zinc demand will decline by 6.5% and 5.3%, respectively, this year.

Meanwhile, ILZSG forecast lead and zinc demand will rise by 4.4% and 6.6%, respectively, in 2021.

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Lead demand

The ILZSG forecast lead demand will fall to 11.39 million tonnes this year. Next year, ILZSG forecast demand will pick up to 11.89 million tonnes.

In China, the world’s largest automotive market, the group forecast lead usage will decline this year. The group forecast China’s usage will fall by 1.6% this year. A drop in automotive production will be partially outset by increasing production of e-bikes and lead-acid batteries.

Furthermore, the group forecast lead usage will decline by 9.7% in Europe this year. In the U.S., the ILZSG forecast usage will decline by 7.5%.

Lockdowns related to COVID-19 and a decline in new car sales impacted the automotive sector in a number of European countries. As a result, demand declined for replacement batteries and temporary suspensions, according to the ILZSG.

Earlier this year, major automakers idled production in the U.S. for two months before restarting in May.

However, the ILZSG forecast usage will increase in Europe and the U.S. by 7.9% and 2.6%, respectively, in 2021.

Zinc demand

The ILZSG forecast demand to fall to 12.98 million tonnes this year. Meanwhile, the group forecast demand will pick up to 13.52 million tonnes in 2021.

Like lead, the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted zinc mining. Mining operations in Bolivia, Mexico and Peru saw significant impacts from the pandemic.

“Furthermore, after those limitations were alleviated, a resumption to pre-pandemic production levels is proving to be a challenging process at a number of major mining operations,” the ILZSG reported.

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