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[United Kingdom]
Posted on : Oct 20, 2014

Global demand for refined lead metal will continue to exceed supply by a modest amount in both 2014 and 2015, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group said Monday, forecasting a deficit of 38,000 mt this year and 23,000 mt in 2015.

Global demand for refined lead metal is forecast to rise by 1.4% to 11.33 million mt this year and by a further 2.1% to 11.56 million mt in 2015, the ILZSG said.

"In China, despite a further increase in automotive output and an expansion in the construction of mobile phone base stations that require industrial lead-acid batteries for back-up power, demand growth is expected to slow to 2.5% in 2014 and 2.9% in 2015," the group said in a statement.

"This is mainly due to a slowing of the increase of output of e-bikes that account for a significant portion of Chinese automotive lead-acid battery sales," it added.

Overall ex-China demand is forecast to grow by 0.6% this year and 1.4% in 2015, with usage in the US expected to be flat and consumption in Europe to grow by 1.8% and 0.8% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

World production of refined lead metal is forecast to rise by 1.5% to 11.29 million mt in 2014 and a further 2.2% to 11.54 million mt in 2015.

"A decline in United States refined lead metal output this year is principally due to the closure of Doe Run's Herculaneum operation at the end of 2013 and the shutdown of Exide Technologies' secondary plant in Vernon, California in March," the ILZSG said, adding that output in Peru is also lower as a consequence of the closure in June of the La Oroya plant, formerly owned by Doe Run.

Elsewhere, output is anticipated to rise over the period in China, Belgium, Italy, India and the Republic of Korea and fall in Australia and Japan.

Increases in Australia, China and the US are expected to more than offset a fall in Canada, resulting in a rise in world lead mine production of 2.4% to 5.56 million mt in 2014, the ILZSG said, adding that in 2015, additional increases are forecast in Australia and China which will be the main influence on a further rise in global output of 5.5% to 5.87 million mt.

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