US exports of lead increased by 10.6pc on an annual basis in April, while zinc and nickel exports more than halved during the same period.
Lead exports in April rose to 6,212mt from 5,614mt during the same month last year, according to US Census Bureau data, as the Far-East Asian economies began opening after COVID-19-related lockdowns. In the first four months of the year, lead shipments out of the US increased by 10.2pc to 25,338mt from 22,998mt during the same period last year.
However, zinc and nickel exports fell by 56.9pc to 1,562mt and by 79.7pc to 1,772mt, respectively, in April from a year ago. Zinc shipments from the US declined by 24.8pc to 9,202mt in the first four months of 2020 from 12,231mt in January-April 2019. Nickel exports also decreased by 43.9pc to 10,080mt from 17,961mt during the same period under comparison.
The US did not receive any shipments of the three metals during the month due to pandemic-induced lockdowns across the world. In April 2019, the US received a total of 570mt of lead scrap shipments—including lead scrap and batteries—and had imported 615mt of zinc scrap. During the same period, the US had imported 4,419mt of nickel.
The lack of shipments received by the US for the three metals in April also impacted its year-to-date volumes. In the first four months of the year, imports of lead batteries fell by 28.4pc to 687mt from 959mt in January-April 2019. However, lead scrap imports increased by 29pc to 1,031mt from 799mt during the same period under comparison. Both zinc and nickel imports decreased by 18.6pc to 2,193mt and by 28.3pc to 9,842mt in the first four months of 2020 from the same period last year.