ILZSG: Global demand for refined zinc metal is forecast to rise by 1.5%

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Zinkerz (Foto: Initiative Zink)

Lisbon, Portugal — The International Lead and Zinc Study Group held its Fifty-ninth Session in Lisbon, Portugal from 16-17 October 2014. The Session included a meeting of the Study Group’s Statistical and Forecasting Committee to review the current levels of world supply and demand for zinc and the outlook for 2015. A number of speakers made presentations containing valuable information about current trends and issues in the global zinc sector.

According to ILZSG data, it is anticipated that global demand for refined zinc metal will rise by 5.1% to 13.65 million tonnes this year and a further 2.9% to 14.05 million tonnes in 2015. These rises will be primarily driven by increased Chinese usage where galvanized sheet production is reported to have increased strongly. Growth in the world excluding China is expected to be more subdued at 2.3% in 2014 and 1.3% in 2015.

After remaining flat in 2013, modest growth of 1.2% this year and 1% in 2015 is foreseen in Europe. A sharp rise in imports of refined zinc metal into the United States in 2014 will contribute to an anticipated increase in demand of 8.7%. However, growth of only 0.4% is forecast in 2015. Elsewhere further increases in demand are expected in India, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Turkey. In Japan, usage is forecast to remain close to half a million tonnes as it has been since 2010.

Mine production is forecast to increase by 1%

Concerning supply, world zinc mine production is forecast to increase by 1% to 13.33 million tonnes in 2014 and 3.6% to 13.80 million tonnes in 2015. This is primarily due to rises in China with production in the world ex-China expected to fall by 2.2% this year before rebounding by 1.5% in 2015. The main reasons for the ex-China reduction this year will be a decrease in India, where Hindustan Zinc’s Rampura Agucha mine is currently being converted from an open-pit to an underground operation, and a fall in Peru due mainly to a cutback in output at the Antamina mine.

In 2015, increases in Canada, China, Mexico, Peru and Sweden will be partially balanced by a reduction in Ireland. In Australia, loss of output due the expected closure of MMG’s Century mine in Queensland during the third quarter will be balanced by higher production at other operations.

Global refined zinc metal production to rise by 2.9%

It is anticipated that global refined zinc metal production will rise by 2.9% to 13.25 million tonnes in 2014 and by 3.3% to 13.68 million tonnes in 2015 mainly as a consequence of a further expansion of output in China. Outside China, increases in Belgium, France, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Norway and the Russian Federation will be balanced by reductions in Brazil, India and the United States in 2014. In 2015, US output is expected to recover due to higher output at Horsehead Resources’ new plant in North Carolina. Higher production is also anticipated in India and the Republic of Korea.

After having taken into consideration all of the information received from the Group’s member countries, it is expected that global demand for refined zinc metal will exceed supply by a significant margin in both 2014 and 2015. The size of the deficit this year is estimated at 403kt, and in 2015 at 366kt.

Further information on the topics covered by this Press Release can be obtained on the ILZSG website at ilzsg.org as well as copies of papers presented at the Joint Seminar and the ILZSG Session.

Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG)