Global lead market challenges and opportunities into the next decade
The recent step down in LME lead prices has been largely driven by broader metal price drivers becoming more negative, though a turning point in the lead market cycle has also played a part. Is this price retreat merely another relatively short-lived dip, or are there longer-term issues that could sustain a more prolonged period of downward pressure in lead values? The fortunes of the lead battery sector, under threat from the rise of lithium batteries; will be the key factor that determines the lead price path ahead. Can lead batteries respond to the threat and defend, or even grow, its share in some energy-storage applications? In addition to the future demand path, the response of production ― both in polymetallic mining and in recycling ― will be crucial in determining whether the lead market is facing feast or famine and whether lead prices will go down or up as we move into the next decade.
Neil Hawkes has been responsible for CRU’s analysis of the lead market for 30 years. He is a regular speaker at conferences around the world. Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, CRU specialises in commodities and delivers global business intelligence across a wide variety of non-ferrous and ferrous metals through analysis, prices, consulting and conferencing.