Lead started 2018 strongly, aided by a weakening dollar and persisting supply worries exacerbated by severe winter weather in North America and China. After briefly hitting a seven-year high of $2643/t, lead finished January on $2620/t, up 3.0% since the start of the month. Fundamental support came from the US in the grip of historical low temperatures provoking acute anxiety over increased refined lead demand coupled with reduced availability. Much of this situation was replicated in China as it too endured harsh winter conditions. Significant falls in LME and SHFE lead stocks plus large increases in cancelled warrants only added to the alarm. Annual treatment charge negotiations are ongoing with continued concentrate market tightness. Miners are seeking further TC reductions to bring them further into line with spot prices, but some smelters claim that they cannot accept any further cuts despite increasingly turning to non-concentrate feed.