Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

The International Metals Study Groups (IMSG) has predicted an increase in copper, nickel, lead, and zinc supply and consumption in 2021.


The group, which consists of the International Copper Study Group, International Nickel Study Group, and the International Lead and Zinc Study Group indicated in its newsletter published on Jan 12 that in 2021 global supply would exceed demand across all the metals it covers, including copper, which was forecasted to record a deficit of around 50,000mt in 2020.



The global refined metal balance for copper is estimated to reach a surplus of 70,000mt in 2021. The red metal’s supply was impacted by the pandemic-related disruptions of last year, which may result in a 1.5pc drop in its 2020 production to 20.45mn mt. In 2021, however, IMSG’s copper study group predicts that production will increase by 4.5pc to 21.79mn mt. Copper consumption is projected to grow by 1.1pc from 24.49mn mt in 2020 to 24.75mn mt in 2021.



IMSG’s nickel study group has predicted that the global nickel surplus, which is estimated at 117,000mt in 2020 will fall to 68,000mt in 2021 as nickel consumption rises. The metal’s usage is projected to increase to 2.32mn mt in 2020 and rise further to 2.52mn mt in 2021. Nickel supply is expected to rise in tandem to 2.43mn mt in 2020 and 2.59mn mt in 2021.


Lead and zinc

IMSG’s lead and zinc study has predicted a 4.4pc increase in lead consumption to 11.81mn mt in 2021 from a projected usage of 11.39mn mt in 2020. Zinc consumption is also expected to rise by 4.2pc to 13.52mn mt in 2021 from 12.98mn mt predicted for 2020. The supply of lead and zinc is also expected to rise by 3.6pc and 2.9pc to 12.08mn mt and 13.99mn mt, respectively, in 2021 from the 2020 forecast. The surplus in the global markets is expected to rise further this year to 192,000mt for lead and 463,000mt for zinc.

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