Lead Prices (Q1 2022)
Domestic lead prices fell after the Chinese New Year holidays, dragged down by falling LME lead, and spot lead prices fell below 15,000 RMB/MT to 14,800 RMB/MT. Later, prices recovered due to the cost support of secondary lead, and they rose at the end of the month as a result of the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The Russia-Ukraine war tightened energy supply, and higher raw material costs due to the VAT on lead-acid battery scrap kept the metal's prices rising into March. The price of base metals rose across the board amid strong bullish sentiment, with nickel leading the way.On March 8, the LME and most-traded SHFE lead contract both reached highs of 2,700 USD/MT and 16,465 RMB/MT, respectively. After the LME and SHFE tightened regulations to stem the irrational price surge, base metals prices fell and were once again dominated by fundamentals.
Lead: Q4 2021 Price Analysis
In Q4 2021, Chinese ingot average prices were recorded at 2350 USD/MT. As stockpiles declined, refined lead prices jumped almost 4% in the final week of December, but the metal's prices had already achieved their peak. Several smelters of this metal were executing maintenance operations, resulting in smaller ingot inventories. As a result, prices increased, but now that secondary smelters are resuming operations, prices may be under pressure.
In the final quarter, average metal prices were recorded at 2255 USD/MT. Metals production was hampered by a lack of electricity and exorbitant costs in Europe, which drove up LME prices of the metal and compensated for losses during the Chinese New Year break. For a week, Europe's power supply was short, while LME lead supplies remained stable, despite China's planned lead ingot exports to Europe. The LME price stayed unchanged at 2,300 USD/MT.
China's rapid expansion in inventories was spurred by aggressive secondary lead capacity development and significant tolling activity at Chinese smelters. The Shanghai Futures Exchange's warehouse stockpiles hit new highs this year, reaching 200,000 MT. Increased price fluctuation and smelter outages generated shortages abroad, but high shipping charges and container constraints kept the surplus in China. Physical premiums in the US reached multi-year highs, while supplies in the LME warehouse network reaching 12-year lows. According to the worldwide supply-demand model, the refined lead market dynamics will gradually rebalance during 2022, following the minor surplus that developed in China this year.
Lead Prices (Q1-Q3 2021)
In the first half of 2021, the average price of ingot was 2360 USD/MT in China. The country shipped 15,545 metric tonnes of refined lead in September, the greatest volume (shipment) since 2007. Inventories reached a new high in 2018, placing a lot of strain on the supply side. However, as delivery sources dried up and demand slowed during the off-season, stockpiles of final products at battery manufacturers continued to build in 2021. Users further downstream made low-cost purchases. Primary smelters of this metal benefited the most from byproducts as the TCs continued to fall. Although Jinli was being serviced, the production remained unaltered.
The market price for the first half of the year was recorded at 2200 USD/MT. An increase in usage was witnessed in Europe. Prices had grown by more than 7% on the international market since the beginning of the year, but they had fallen by the end of the year as supplies improved. In the second half of 2021, increased recycling of vehicle batteries boosted secondary lead production or recycling.
Despite the fact that the United States contributes for only 13% of global demand, the end of COVID-19 lockdowns increased the metal’s consumption as motorists sought replacements for lead-acid batteries that had died after extended periods of inactivity. The metal’s pricing forecast for the year was increased to 2,200 USD/MT from 2,125 USD/MT, citing the average price of 2,316 USD/MT in November and December. Rising vehicle prices began to have an impact on worldwide automobile manufacturing during the next several months, stopping the rise in consumption.
Lead Prices Overview 2020
In 2020, average lead ingot prices were recorded at 2135 USD/MT in China. Because of increased output in the automobile sector, which pushed demand for new batteries, domestic lead scrap and ingot prices in India climbed by 1-3% in August 2020. A 3% increase in formal three-month LME prices to 1,981 USD/MT also helped strengthen domestic pricing. The smelters in Mumbai and Delhi increased output to meet surging demand from the automobile industry. Automakers predicted pent-up demand over India's upcoming Christmas season. With more demand on the horizon, smelters raised bids steadily, resulting in a price increase of 3,000-4,000 INR/MT in cities like as Mumbai and Delhi. Since mid-July, the price of re-melted and purified lead had been rising, placing ingot makers in a good position.
In 2020, average market price was 1860 USD/MT in Europe. The metal had been missed previously and was now slipping behind. On the other hand, the pace and strength of the metal’s rally had been fairly unexpected. Berzelius Stolberg, Europe's largest primary lead smelter, declared in December 2020 that metal supply from its facilities in western Germany would be halted due to force majeure.
The US market tightened after Doe Run closed its smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri, in 2013 and Glencore closed its Brunswick smelter in Canada in late 2019. During and after the Covid-19 epidemic, labour shortages, general material scarcity, transportation limits, and the high cost of freight overseas worsened the tension. As a result of these reasons, premiums remained high. The increase in the price came at a time when the lead and battery supply chain was struggling to refill automotive lead battery inventories in various parts of the world. Despite new environmental regulations, the use of refined lead in the global automotive industry has continued to grow in the United States.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Lead. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Procurement Resource provides prices of Lead for several regions around the globe, which are as follows:
In appearance, Lead is a metallic gray element which has many different applications. Being soft and malleable, it has low melting point. It is widely utilised in the production of batteries, fusible alloys, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), as well as in the devices to shield X-rays.
The primary production of lead begins with the Sintering process, where concentrated lead ore is processed inside a sintering machine along with iron, silica, limestone fluxes, soda ash, pyrite, zinc, caustics or pollution control particulates. Smelting uitlises reduction substances, which are known for combining with the oxidising agents. Hence, reduction is the last step in this smelting process, which further produces elemental Lead.
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The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).