Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Global refined lead production declined to 2.71mn mt during the first quarter of the year from 2.92mn mt in Q1 2019, according to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG).


Lead usage also fell to 2.7mn mt last quarter from 2.9mn mt during the same period last year. Lead production and usage peaked in March at 902,300mt and 888,100mt, respectively.


The ILZSG data indicated lead supply outpaced demand by 19,000mt during Q1 2020, while total reported stock levels dropped by 31,000mt during that time. Output declines in China, India, and Kazakhstan drove down global lead mine production, according to the data.


Global lead output declined by 7.1pc in Q1 because China, a major producer, was the first country in the world to suffer restrictive measures to contain the COVID-19 epidemic. Canada, too, brought down worldwide levels because Glencore’s New Brunswick smelter, which produces 70,000mt annually, was taken offline.


World refined zinc production, however, rose to 3.3mn mt in Q1 2020 from 3.2mn mt during the same quarter last year, while usage declined to 3.1mn mt from 3.2mn mt a year earlier.


There was a 239,000mt refined zinc surplus in Q1 2020, with total reported inventories rising by 156,000mt. Refined zinc metal production increased by 3.2pc because Chinese’s output surged, while mining production slipped by 0.5pc. Other countries that saw production rises include Brazil, Finland, and Norway, but Peru’s output declined in Q1 on an annual basis.

Global refined zinc demand declined by 4pc as major users—Europe, India, Japan, South Korea, and the US—needed less of the metal. 

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