2016: ILZSG anticipates global increasing demand for refined lead and zinc metal

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Zinkerz (Foto: Initiative Zink)

Lisbon, Portugal – According to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group, global demand for refined lead metal is forecast to fall by 0.7% to 10.82 million tonnes in 2015. In 2016, an increase of 2.6% to 11.11 million tonnes is anticipated. Furthermore the Group anticipates that global demand for refined zinc metal will increase by 1.1% to 13.90 million tonnes in 2015 and by 3.3% to 14.37 million tonnes in 2016.

The key figures on lead metal outlook for 2015 and 2016 include:

  • A slowdown in the production and sales of e-bikes which account for about a third of Chinese refined lead metal usage is continuing to adversely affect demand in China and a further reduction of 0.6% is forecast this year. However, in 2016 increased usage in the automotive and industrial battery sectors is predicted to result in a rise of 2.6%.
  • In 2015, demand is also expected to fall in both Europe, by 0.8%, and the United States, by 3.6%. However, in 2016, European and U.S. growth of 3.1% and 1.9% respectively is anticipated with usage also expected to be higher in India, the Republic of Korea and Turkey.
  • After declining in 2014, world lead mine production is forecast to fall by a further 2.5% to 4.80 million tonnes in 2015 and then increase by 1.2% to 4.86 million tonnes in 2016.
  • The main reason for the decrease this year is a 13% fall in Australian output primarily due to the suspension of production at Ivernia’s Paroo Station operation in March and a reduction in output at South32’s Cannington operation. In 2016, falls in Australia and Ireland mainly due to the closure of the Century and Lisheen mines respectively will be more than offset by forecast increases in China, Mexico and the Russian Federation.
  • An expected 1% decrease in world refined lead metal output in 2015 to 10.83 million tonnes will be mainly a consequence of lower output in China and Peru, where production at the La Oroya plant was suspended in June last year. In 2016, production is forecast to increase by 3.5% to 11.20 million tonnes with rises in Belgium, China, India, Italy and the Republic of Korea where Korea Zinc will soon complete work on the construction of a new 130,000 tonne per year capacity lead plant in Ulsan.
  • World Refined Lead Metal Balance: Having taken into account all of the information recently received from its Member Countries, the Group continues to anticipate that there will be a close balance between global refined lead metal supply and demand in 2015. However, in 2016 increases in ex- China refined metal supply are expected to result in a surplus of 97,000 tonnes.

The key figures on zinc metal outlook for 2015 and 2016 include:

  • It is anticipated that global demand for refined zinc metal will increase by 1.1% to 13.90 million tonnes in 2015 and by 3.3% to 14.37 million tonnes in 2016. This growth will be primarily driven by rises in China where usage is forecast to increase by 1.4% in 2015 and 4.9% in 2016 mainly as a consequence of further rises in galvanised steel sheet output.
  • In the United States, rising demand for zinc from the automotive and construction sectors is expected to result in increase in usage of 1.9% this year and 1.7% in 2016. It is anticipated that European growth will be slower at 1.4% and 0.7% in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Elsewhere zinc demand is expected to rise in India, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) and Vietnam but to contract in Canada and Japan.
  • It is anticipated that global zinc mine production will rise by a marginal 0.3% to 13.55 million tonnes this year. In 2016, a 1.8% rise to 13.80 million tonnes will be driven by forecast higher output in China with ex-China production expected to decline by 1.8%.
  • The completion of work last year to expand underground output at Hindustan Zinc’s Rampura Agucha mine will result in a significant recovery in Indian output in 2015. Production is also expected to be higher in Australia, China, Peru, the Russian Federation and Sweden with these rises predicted to just exceed decreases resulting from lower output in Bolivia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Turkey.
  • The principal reasons for the reduction in ex-China output in 2016 are the closure of MMG’s half a million tonne per year capacity Century mine in Australia in August 2015 and the scheduled shutdown of Vedanta’s 175,000 tonne per year capacity Lisheen mine in Ireland in November.
  • An increase in global refined zinc metal production of 3.7% to 13.99 million tonnes this year will be primarily influenced by increased output in Canada, China, India and the Republic of Korea. In 2016, an anticipated further rise in the Republic of Korea together with increases in Mexico and Namibia will be partially offset by reductions in the Netherlands, Thailand and Japan with overall production rising by 1.6% to 14.21 million tonnes.
  • World Refined Zinc Metal Balance: 17. Having fully taken account of data recently received from its Member Countries, the Group expects global refined zinc metal supply to exceed demand by 88,000 tonnes in 2015. In 2016, a fall in ex-China mine supply is expected to restrict growth in metal output and a global market deficit of 152kt is forecast.

Further information on the topics covered by this Press Release can be obtained on the ILZSG website at ilzsg.org.

Source: The International Lead and Zinc Study Group