Global production of lead and zinc increased by 4.6pc and 0.8pc, respectively, in 2020 on an annual basis according to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics (WBMS).
The global lead market ended last year with a deficit of 47,000mt down from a deficit of 246,000mt reported at the end of 2019, WBMS data indicated as the apparent demand for the metal rose, especially in China.
WBMS pegged the Asian nation’s demand for lead at 6.48mn mt in 2020, higher by 560,000mt from 2019. This volume also represents almost half of the global demand for lead. In the US, however, apparent demand decreased by 120,000mt last year compared to 2019. The bureau did not disclose the comparative volumes for the US.
Global lead demand in December 2020 was reported at 1.3mn mt while world refined lead production during the same month stood at around 1.3mn mt.
Demand for zinc falls
The global zinc market reported a surplus of 589,000mt at the end of 2020 compared to a 76,000mt deficit at the end of the previous year after demand for the metal dipped by 4.1pc or 557,000mt compared to 2019.
China made up more than half of the global demand for zinc at 6.75mn mt in 2020. In Japan, the demand for zinc declined by 29pc to 368,000mt in 2020 compared to the previous year. In December 2020, global demand for zinc was estimated at 1.23mn mt and the same volume was produced during the month.