Commodity market report

Global lead short-term outlook March 2017

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Report summary

Short-term supply worries from damaged transport links for Peruvian lead concentrate plus massive LME stock cancellations supported the lead price in March, keeping it ahead of the other LME base metals in an essentially flat month. Prolonged heavy rain in Peru wiped out several kilometres of railway between the mines and port of Callao, but the limited capacity of alternative road transport and storage capacity is likely to force production disruption during the likely repair lasting well into April. Meanwhile, warrant cancellations of LME stocks shot up to 59% of the total tonnage, leaving available material at its lower level for four years, threatening a refined metal supply squeeze if this material leaves warehouses in short order. TCs fell again in the month, with indicative terms now standing at just $35/t CIF MCP. Smelters are clearly desperate for supply.

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    Global lead short-term outlook March 2017

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    Data tables lead STO March 2017.xls

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Table of contents

Tables and charts

This report includes 21 images and tables including:


  • Lead price stay ahead of the pack despite relatively flat month
  • Lead price gets slightly ahead of weakened dollar
  • Calm surface waters disguise alarming undercurrent of material potentially leaving warehouses
  • Cash to 3-month contango steady but spreads in backwardation further forward
  • Steady growth in SHFE lead stocks on weak demand, in the face of primary supply tightening
  • In- and outflows from LME warehouses remain minimal as cancelled stocks reach 59% of total
  • Huge jump in Chinese refined lead imports is meaningless
  • Lead exports slow to a trickle despite increased offshoring of battery production for export markets
  • Cumulative Chinese concentrate imports decrease 7% month on month
  • 2016-2018 increased global refined production comes primarily from China and the rest of Asia


  • Lead key forecasts
  • Refined lead premia and scrap prices
  • Price forecasts and global quarterly supply/demand balances (kt)
  • Global quarterly refined lead consumption (kt)
  • Concentrate market TCs
  • Global refined lead consumption (kt Pb)
  • Supply: Table 3
  • Global refined lead production (kt Pb)
  • Global primary and secondary refined lead production (kt Pb)
  • Lead stocks, prices and premia
  • Global lead supply and demand (kt)

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