|teck corp zinc outlook from annual report|
MarketsZinc prices on the London Metal Exchange (LME) averaged US$0.99 per pound for the year, up US$0.01 per pound from the 2010 average.
In 2011, global zinc metal consumption grew to 13 million tonnes, which was an increase of 4% over 2010 levels. Metal premiums increased in North America while premiums in Asia and in Europe remained stable. Despite the improved demand for zinc in 2011, metal supply grew at a greater rate, leading to a surplus metal market in 2011 of 300,000 tonnes. LME stocks increased by 120,000 tonnes or 17% over 2010 levels and finished the year at 822,000 tonnes. We estimate that total global stocks (which include producer, consumer, merchant and terminal stocks) increased by 294,000 tonnes representing an estimated 51 days of global consumption compared to the 25-year average of an estimated 41 days.
In 2011, global mine production grew by 3%, or 370,000 tonnes of contained zinc, while global refined production rose by 500,000 tonnes or 4%. In 2010, the global concentrate market recorded a deficit and in 2011 the concentrate market remained in deficit as evidenced by falling spot processing fees.
In 2012, we believe the global zinc concentrate market will continue to be in a structural deficit, as global refinery capacity, primarily in China, is expected to grow at a greater rate than global mine production. This structural concentrate deficit should mean that refineries will operate at below full utilization rates and may result in cuts in metal production from planned levels. However, we believe that global refined production should still grow at a greater rate than refined demand, leading to a global zinc metal surplus.