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Global lead market is witnessing a steady increase in demand

The global lead market has been witnessing a surge in demand and not enough supply to counteract that requirement. Although the market was in a supply surplus since 2010, a 23000 tonne deficit has been reported in 2014. Dominant players in the market are therefore expecting to increase their production volumes to satisfy the increasing demand.

This report: Global Lead Market to 2018 - Market Size, Top 10 Countries, Trends, and Forecasts presents a detailed analysis of the market situation, trends, and outlook of the lead industry in the world with a focus to the top 10 countries.


Market overview

Throughout 2013, the demand for lead rose by a significant amount worldwide, as the biggest markets for lead started to look up over time. The U.S. doubled its lead imports to meet this demand, which in turn influenced the price of the metal to rise by more than 13% between May and June 2013. Market experts predict that the global demand for lead will further increase, driven by higher usage in the Asian markets who accounted for 45% of the total global lead usage in 2013. Demand for the metal in the European markets on the other hand, is expected to be modest.


Key drivers

Demand for lead has increased to a great extent in both auto and non-auto industries. Vehicle sales have increased both in China and US, which in turn has increased the demand for original lead acid batteries. Simultaneously replacement batteries are also witnessing a steady growth in demand.

Amongst the non-automotive industries, the demand is mainly driven by the advent of new technology like 4G spectrums and cloud computing, which require back-up or emergency power in the form of lead batteries. Experts suggest that the introduction of 4G technology in Europe, Middle East and Africa will require around 300,000 tonnes of lead in industrial batteries. The lead-acid battery has remained the most popular choice mainly because of its efficiency and cost advantage over other types of batteries. In China, for example, the lead-acid battery was used in 91 percent of e-bikes in 2011, the prices of which were half of that of nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion batteries. Advancements in technology are hence likely to ensure that lead-acid batteries retain their market share in the non-auto battery market as well. 


Key players

Car sales in China rose 21% over the year in 2013, bringing up the demand for lead in the country significantly. While China might have the highest production in term of quantity, the U.S. still leads in quality and advanced manufacturing, particularly aircraft and other specialized products, leading to high demands of lead.


Market outlook

Despite China’s accelerating growth, the U.S. continues to lead the market with top-end manufacturing and smart technologies. Experts suggest that in the additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing industry, America is expected to solidify its position as the world’s leader in advanced production capabilities, consequently leading to an increased consumption of lead. Output in the US and Europe is also set to rise. Higher production is expected also in India, South Korea, Mexico and Namibia, according to recent research, thus propelling the market towards growth.  


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