LISBON (Scrap Monster): Global demand for refined lead metal is forecast to rise by 3.4% to 10.80 million tonnes in 2012 and a further 3.3% to 11.15 million tonnes in 2013, according to The International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG).
In China, lead-acid battery production and exports have recovered strongly after the wide-ranging environmentally motivated cutbacks in 2011 and lead metal usage is expected to grow by 4.8% this year and 4.7% in 2013, they added.
Despite a small downturn in shipments of replacement automotive lead-acid batteries, it is anticipated that demand for lead metal in the United States will increase by 3.9% in 2012 principally driven by growth in the original equipment and industrial battery sectors. However, only a limited rise in usage of 0.6% is anticipated in 2013, ILZSG noted.
European demand is expected to be negatively affected by declining automotive sales and to remain flat in 2012 before increasing by 1.2% in 2013.
ILZSG is anticipated that world lead mine production will rise by 10.9% to 5.21 million tonnes in 2012 and by 2.8% to 5.36 million tonnes in 2013.
These increases are almost entirely due to the further expansion of production in China with output in the rest of the world forecast to be relatively stable as rises in Mexico, Peru and the Russian Federation are largely offset by a reduction in Canada.
ILZSG expected rises in refined lead metal output of 2.9% in 2012 to 10.90 million tonnes and 3.8% in 2013 to 11.32 million tonnes have been influenced by the opening of both new capacity and the reopening of capacity placed on care and maintenance in recent years.
This includes the expected reopening of the La Oroya operation in Peru and Glencore’s Kivcet plant in Italy, the expansion of Kazzinc’s UstKamenogorsk plant in Kazakhstan, the opening of secondary operations in Florida and South Carolina in the United States and the commissioning of new capacity at a number of plants in China.
After having taken into consideration information received from its member governments and their industry advisors, the ILZSG expects that the global refined lead metal market will remain in oversupply both this year and next. The extent of the oversupply in 2012 is forecast at 108kt and in 2013 at 174kt.
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