ILZSG: Refined lead metal supply exceeded demand, zinc metal market in surplus

Zinkerz (Foto: Initiative Zink)

Lisbon, Portugal — Provisional data reported to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) indicate that world supply of refined lead metal exceeded demand by 7kt over the five months from January to May 2015. During that period, the global market for refined zinc metal was in surplus by 143kt.

The key figures on lead metal are:

  • From January to May 2015, total reported stock levels of refined lead metal declined by 94kt of which 62kt was due to a reduction in inventories held in LME warehouses.
  • Global lead mine supply was at a similar level to that over the same period of 2014 with increases in China and Peru balanced by lower output in Australia, Mexico and Turkey.
  • A 2.1 percent reduction in world production of refined lead metal was primarily a consequence of decreases in Canada, China and Peru.
  • Apparent demand for refined lead metal in China fell by 3 percent. Usage was also lower in Europe (-2.5 percent) and the United States (-6.9 percent). However, these reductions were partially offset by modest gains in Brazil, India, Japan and Thailand resulting in an overall fall in global usage of 2 percent.
  • At 358kt, Chinese imports of lead contained in lead concentrates were 3.8 percent higher than the corresponding period in 2014.

The key figures on zinc contain:

  • During the first five months of 2015, LME stocks of refined zinc metal fell by 238kt, Shanghai Futures Exchange Inventories increased by 108kt and stocks reported by producers rose by 79kt resulting in a net fall in total reported stocks of 51kt.
  • A 7.6 percent rise in global zinc mine production was influenced mainly by higher output in Australia, China, India, Peru and Sweden.
  • A sharp 9.2 percent escalation in world output of refined zinc metal was driven primarily by a reported 18.5 percent rise in China with notable increases also recorded in Canada, India and the Republic of Korea.
  • Global usage of refined zinc metal rose by 2.6 percent with rises in Europe (+2.2 percent), China (+2.9 percent), Japan, Taiwan (China) and Thailand partially balanced by reductions in the United States (-9.1 percent) and India.
  • Despite a pick-up in shipments over the period March to May, at 118kt, Chinese net imports of refined zinc metal over the first five months of 2015 were 62 percent lower than during the same period of 2014.

Full details are available in the July 2015 edition of the Group’s 77 page ‘Lead and Zinc Statistics’ Bulletin. Further details about the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) together with a full list of publications are available on the Group’s website at

Source: International Lead and Zinc Study Group