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Lead

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Lead prices remain on their steady uptrend and have been eroding resistance around October’s six-year high above $2,600 per tonne. We expect the underlying strengthening fundamentals to maintain the uptrend. Primary producers may struggle to respond to higher lead prices and we doubt there is much-hoarded scrap around given how strong prices have been. The demand side of the equation may see weaker growth as auto sales are showing signs of slowing, lithium-ion batteries continue to gain market share from lead-acid batteries in the e-bike sector and automakers, governments and consumers switch their focus to electric vehicles (EVs). Lead may not lose out too quickly because we think growth initially will be driven by hybrids over pure EVs, and hybrids retain lead-acid batteries. Overall we remain positive for lead prices, from fundamental, technical and positioning perspectives. We expect supply-side issues to be the main driver and we have nudged up our forecast for Q1 to $2,580 per tonne.

Analysis by Andy Cole, base metals analyst and editor of MBR’s Base
Metals Weekly Market Tracker. Email: acole@metalbulletinresearch.com

In this regular section, MBR’s base metals team summarise their in-depth reports to highlight key factors driving the markets and short-term price forecasts. MBR’s Base Metals Weekly Tracker service provides independent, detailed and timely analysis on the latest data, price movements and developments that impact the market conditions and outlook for LME-traded base metals.

For free samples of MBR’s reports, please call Harriet Hall (tel: +44 (0)20 7779 8000) or access www.metalbulletinresearch.com.


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