Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Commodities: "Lead Shortage Looms in ’13 on Record Demand for Batteries" (BHP; XTA.L)

Back in June 2010 I was the butt of a few jokes for hitting the publish key on:
"The Lead Acid Battery Sector Is Starting A Bull Run" (CHP; ENS; XIDE)
Words I never thought I'd post....
So it was with some pleasure that seven months later I was able to to gloat:
Ha! They Laughed When We Posted "The Lead Acid Battery Sector Is Starting A Bull Run" (CHP; ENS; XIDE).

Here's the next phase of the action, switching from the end-users to the producers, from Bloomberg:
Lead is poised to rally after erasing this year’s gains with the market returning to shortages following a five-year glut as miners fail to keep pace with record demand for batteries.

Stockpiles monitored by the London Metal Exchange dropped 7.6 percent from the all-time high reached in October. Demand will exceed supply by 150,000 metric tons next year, equal to about six months of U.S. mine production, Macquarie Group Ltd. estimates. Prices will average $2,273 a ton in the fourth quarter, 13 percent more than now, according to the median of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Consumption is being driven by industrialization and new technology, with lead usage in batteries for everything from fork-lift trucks to mobile phone towers growing at more than twice the speed of overall demand, BNP Paribas SA estimates. Mine supply will expand at the slowest pace in three years in 2012 as producers fail to develop new deposits, Macquarie predicts. Xstrata Plc (XTA) will shut a Canadian mine next year after a half-century of digging exhausted all profitable ores.

“If you’re adding demand you need new supply,” said Duncan Hobbs, an analyst at Macquarie in London. “In the next two, three years at least, on the supply side, there is no new primary mine lead supply coming to the market anywhere in the world outside China.”

First Quarter
Lead is down 1.4 percent this year at $2,006.50 a ton on the LME, compared with a 1.6 percent gain in the LME Index of six industrial metals. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell 1.7 percent since the start of January and the MSCI All-Country World Index rose 3 percent. Treasuries returned 1 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows....MORE