ILZSG forecast 2015: Balance between global refined lead supply and demand

Bleigewichte (Foto: ©Harry256 /

Lisbon, Portugal — The Standing Committee of the International Lead and Zinc Study Group held its Spring meetings in Lisbon on 22 April 2015 under the Chairmanship of Kentaro Morita (Japan). During the meeting the Committee received a review of the current outlook for trends in world supply and demand for lead during 2015.

Regarding the lead sector, the ILZSG anticipates a rise in global usage of refined lead metal of 1.1 percent to 11.05 million tonnes in 2015. In China, growth is being adversely affected by a slowdown of sales in the e-bike sector which accounts for over 30 percent of domestic lead metal usage and Chinese demand in 2015 is forecast to increase by a limited 1 percent. Usage in Europe this year is forecast to rise by 0.8 percent and in the United States, by 1.2 percent.

After declining by 7.9 percent in 2014, mainly due to lower Chinese output, global lead mine production is forecast to rise by 1.1 percent in 2015 to 5.05 million tonnes with expected rises in output in China, India, Mexico and Sweden partially balanced by reductions in Australia and Ireland. The world refined lead metal production is expected to increase by 1.1 percent to 11.03 million tonnes in 2015.

European output will benefit from increases in Belgium, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, where primary production was adversely affected by a reduction in the availability of bullion from Australia in 2014 as a consequence of a smelter fire at Mount Isa. Increases are also anticipated in China, India and the United States. However, these will be partially balanced by reductions in Japan, the Republic of Korea and Peru, where operations at the La Oroya are again on hold pending a decision on future ownership of the plant. After totaling 988,000 tonnes in 2014, the latest official trade data suggests that Chinese imports of lead contained in lead concentrates will remain at a similar level in 2015.

Having taken into account the latest information received from its member countries, the Group continues to anticipate that there will be a close balance between global refined lead supply and demand in 2015. Current figures indicate a small deficit of 17,000 tonnes.

Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group