Deficits in global lead and zinc markets widened in H1 2021 with inventory levels down 251,000mt and 90,000mt, respectively. This compares to lead being 118,000mt lower and zinc 610,000mt in surplus at the end of 2020 according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).
Reported inventory levels were 22,500mt higher for zinc from January to June 2021 against H1 2020, while LME stocks for the metal were up 16,000mt during the same timeframe, translating into a 33pc share worldwide, mainly in the US and Asia. Lead stock levels climbed by 18,300mt in June this year versus the same month last year.
Lead production edges higher
Refined lead production increased by 13pc to 7.02mn mt during the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2020.
Apparent demand in China represented 50pc of the world’s share and stood at about 3.62mn mt in H1 2021 against 809,000mt during the same prior-year period. In the USA, demand was estimated to be up by 77,000mt in the same timeframe. June refined production was 1.21mn mt with demand at 1.26mn mt.
Global output and demand for zinc increases
Worldwide zinc production and demand inched up by 5.4pc and 15pc in the first six months of the year, with the former being 923,000mt higher. Japan’s apparent demand was 41pc more at 278,000mt while China stood at 3.57mn mt, comprising half the global share.
The metal’s June levels were 1.19mt of global output and demand at 1.22mn mt.
The International Lead and Zinc Study Group, however, estimates the market for both these metals was in surplus during H1 2021.