Expert lead market insights
Our quarterly lead outlook is published in our Quarterly Metals Report, which covers base, precious and ferrous metals. The impact of supply and demand fundamentals and macroeconomic implications for the lead futures and spot prices are analysed. Our research team produce a lead price range forecast as part of the report.
Lead Outlook – Q2 2023
Lead has been broadly range-bound, but we saw material flow pick up. With the end of the off-season in the battery replacement, operating rates should improve, and we expect higher withdrawal of stocks by market participants. On top of that, primary output is set to decline, given the traditional maintenance period, weighing on secondary production performance. A tighter spread is reaffirming the tightness assumption, but the upside is capped given a lack of momentum out of China, and we continue to watch for vehicle production figures in the near term...
The rally we saw in the first weeks of 2023 has stalled, and sentiment deteriorated since, especially in early May. Strong momentum out of China is absent, but recovery out of the region is underway, with services continuing to outperform. Downstream activity improved amid traditional peak season, but buyers have mostly purchased on the dip as needed. The demand outlook continues to struggle, with end-users showing continued softness in the goods’ sales. While this should lead to further easing in the supply chain issues we have witnessed in the last couple of years, looming recessionary fears are weighing on our demand outlook. With the key central banks ending their monetary policy tightening cycle, the focus is poised to shift away from inflation-centric data to fundamentals, such as economic growth and consumer performance. The historically weaker dollar should provide robust support for metals, but with the lack of a strong incentive, we struggle to see base metals significantly higher in Q2 2023.
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