Lead gains remained on a high during 2018. The prices on MCX Lead recovered by 8 percent in April 2018 on a year on year basis but lost by 0.6% on a month on month basis. Preliminary data from International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) stated that global demand for refined lead metal will rise by 2.7% this year to 11.90 million tonnes, mainly as a consequence of increases in apparent usage in China and the United States which are forecast to grow by 3.4% and 3.1% respectively. Usage of lead metal in Europe is expected to grow by 2.1%, influenced by a further 4.5% rise in Italy. A stable outlook is foreseen in Japan and the Republic of Korea.
After growing by a marginal 0.4% in 2017, world lead mine production is forecast to rise by 4.2% to 4.90 million tonnes in 2018, primarily a consequence of an expected increase in Australian output during the second half of the year. In Cuba, production is predicted to rise as a result of higher output at the Castellanos mine. Chinese output is expected to grow by 1.2%. An anticipated increase in world refined lead metal output of 3.8% to 11.88 million tonnes in 2018 will be mainly influenced by further rises in China and the United States. Chinese output is forecast to rise by 4.7% and in the United States by 10%, recovering after a significant reduction in 2017. In Australia, output is predicted to expand by 13.7% in 2018 and in Europe is forecast to grow by 1.6%, influenced by rises in Belgium and Italy that are expected to more than offset a reduction in Poland. The Group anticipates that global demand for refined lead metal will exceed supply by 17kt in 2018.