ILZSG forecast 2015: Global refined zinc metal demand will exceed supply

Zinkerz (Foto: Initiative Zink)

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 zinc during 2015.

In 2015, global demand for refined zinc metal is forecast to rise by 3.7 percent to 14.14 million tonnes. After increasing by 8.7 percent in 2014 usage in China is expected to rise by a more modest 4.8 percent this year. European demand is forecast to rise by 2.4 percent and in the United States by 6 percent. Usage is also expected to be higher in Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey.

It is anticipated that world zinc mine supply will increase by 3.7 percent to 13.84 million tonnes in 2015. In Europe, a reduction in Ireland as a consequence of the impending closure of Vedanta’s Lisheen mine will be more than offset by increases in the Russian Federation, Spain and Sweden. Similarly in Australia, increased output at the McArthur River and Mount Isa mines will more than compensate for losses due to the closure of MMG’s Century operation during the third quarter. Output in India will benefit from progress in the work to develop the underground portion of Vedanta’s Rampura Agucha mine as well as an increased contribution from the company’s recently opened Kayar operation.

Global production of refined zinc metal in 2015 is forecast to rise by 5.2 percent to 13.99 million tonnes. The majority of this increase will be due to predicted further growth in Chinese output of 8.9 percent with ex-China production expected to rise by 2.4 percent. Increased output at Horsehead’s new secondary zinc operation at Mooresboro in North Carolina will be the main influence on a rise in the United States. Elsewhere production is expected to be higher in Brazil, India, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

After rising for four years in succession Chinese net imports of refined zinc metal declined by 29 percent in 2014. It is possible this reduction was influenced by the relocation of stocks to warehouses outside China during the second half of 2014 and it is currently anticipated that Chinese zinc metal net imports will partially recover over the course of this year.

Detailed information recently collected from ILZSG member countries indicates that global demand for refined zinc metal will exceed supply by 151,000 tonnes in 2015. This deficit is lower than that indicated by the Group during its meetings last October with the difference primarily due to a downward revision to the expected levels of Chinese net imports of refined zinc metal.

Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group