Global consumption of lead and zinc increased by 11.2pc and 10.1pc in January-April compared with the same period in 2020 according to the latest International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) data.
Asia consumption grows
Lead consumption increased to 4mn mt in the first four months of the year from 3.6mn mt in January-April 2020. Zinc consumption grew at a slightly slower pace to 4.6mn mt from 4.2 mn mt during the same timeframe.
The two metals’ usage continued to grow at a faster pace in Asia compared to the rest of the world. Consumption of lead increased in China, India, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Turkey, and the US. However, usage of the metal grew at a more sedate pace of 1.1pc in Europe after the reduction in Germany, the UK, and Russia was offset by increasing usage in France, Poland, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
China also increased its consumption of zinc significantly in the first four months of the year, followed by India, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, and Thailand, ILZSG noted. The US was the only region where zinc consumption dropped, with a decline of 2.1pc. Like lead, zinc consumption in Europe grew at a slow pace of 1.6pc.
Global lead production increases
Lead remained 19,000mt in surplus in January-April after mine production increased by 9.1pc to 1.48mn mt from 1.36mn mt in January-April 2020. Higher output from lead mines in the US, China, Mexico, Australia, India, Peru, and Bolivia led to the boost in mine output.
Refined lead output also increased by 10.8pc to 4.02mn mt during this period from 3.63mn mt on higher production in India, South Korea, Belgium, China, Germany, France, Australia, the US, Poland, and Mexico.
Global zinc in surplus
Higher production of zinc also resulted in the metal being 31,000mt in surplus in January-April 2021. Zinc output from mines increased by 11.3pc to 4.13mn mt in the first four months of the year from 3.71mn mt in January-April 2020 led by growth in China, India, Ireland, Bolivia, Australia, Mexico, Peru, the US, and South Africa, which offset lower output from Canada, Kazakhstan, Poland, Finland, and Namibia.
Refined zinc production also increased by 4.5pc to 4.63mn mt in January-April from 4.43mn mt in the same period last year on higher output from Italy, Japan, China, Peru, India, and the US.