June 28, 2011 / 7:25 PM / 7 years ago

FACTBOX-The vital statistics of zinc

June 28 (Reuters) - Zinc prices will likely stay low through 2012 as experts forecast a surplus of the metal, which is used to galvanize steel.

But producers are betting on demand increasing in the next few years as production from new mines won’t make up for output lost as older mines close. This is spurring mid-sized and major producers, as well as zinc refiners, to look for junior miners to snap up. [ID:nN1E75M0PT]

The following are key facts about the global zinc market, according to latest available data.

INVENTORIES

Zinc stocks in LME warehouses, are at their highest level since 1995. MZN-STOCKS

They have climbed steadily since hitting a record low of just under 60,000 tonnes in October 2007.

But inventories are below the record high of more than 1.2 million tonnes, reached in 1994.

PRICES

Zinc prices closed at $2,272.25 a tonne on Tuesday, versus a close of $2,254 a tonne on Monday.

Prices have fallen almost 7 percent so far this year. They hit a high for the year so far of $2,599.75 a tonne in February.

In November 2006, prices reached a record high of $4,580 a tonne.

ZINC PRODUCTION

The top miners of zinc in the Western world in 2010 were:

1. Glencore* - 734,000 tonnes

2. Hindustan Zinc - 714,000 tonnes

3. Xstrata (free float) - 666,000 tonnes

4. Minmetals Australia (MMG) - 664,000 tonnes

5. Teck Resources - 646,000 tonnes

The top miners of zinc in the Western world in 2011 (according to CRU estimates) will be:

1. Hindustan Zinc - 1.068 million tonnes

2. Glencore* - 766,000 tonnes

3. MMG - 660,000 tonnes

4. Xstrata (free float) - 642,000 tonnes

5. Teck Resources - 620,000 tonnes

* Includes stake in Xstrata.

The top producers of refined zinc in the Western world in 2010 were:

1. Nyrstar - 1.077 million tonnes

2. Korea Zinc Group - 940,000 tonnes

3. Hindustan Zinc - 669,000 tonnes

4. Votorantim - 488,000 tonnes

5. Boliden - 456,000 tonnes

The top producers of refined zinc by capacity in the western world for 2011 (according to CRU estimates):

1. Nyrstar - 1.143 million tonnes

2. Hindustan Zinc - 1.025 million tonnes

3. Korea Zinc Group - 995,000 tonnes

4. Votorantim - 594,000 tonnes

5. Boliden - 477,000 tonnes

The world’s top zinc-mining countries in 2010 were as follows:

1. China - 3.700 million tonnes

2. Peru - 1.469 million tonnes

3. Australia - 1.441 million tonnes

4. United States - 751,000 tonnes

5. India - 740,000 tonnes

World production of mined zinc totaled 12.327 million tonnes in 2010.

The world’s top refined zinc-producing countries in 2010 were as follows:

1. China - 5.164 million tonnes

2. South Korea - 750,000 tonnes

3. India - 735,000 tonnes

4. Canada - 691,000 tonnes

5. Japan - 574,000 tonnes

World production of refined zinc totaled 12.867 million tonnes in 2010.

CONSUMPTION

The top five zinc-consuming nations in 2010 were as follows:

1. China - 5.358 million tonnes

2. United States - 890,000 tonnes

3. South Korea - 554,000 tonnes

4. India - 525,000 tonnes

5. Japan - 516,000 tonnes

World zinc consumption totaled 12.572 million tonnes in 2010.

USES

The main end-uses for zinc are as follows:

1. Galvanizing - 50 percent - cars and construction

2. Diecasting - 17 percent - motor housings, door furniture, toys

3. Brass and bronze - 17 percent - taps and pipes

4. Rolled zinc - 6 percent - roofing and guttering in parts of Europe, coffins in southern Europe, batteries

5. Chemicals - 6 percent - tires and zinc cream

6. Miscellaneous - 4 percent - includes dust in batteries

MARKET BALANCE

The global zinc market was in surplus by 111,000 tonnes in the first quarter of 2011, the International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) said last month. [ID:nLDE74H0QL]

Global refined zinc production will exceed demand by almost 200,000 tonnes this year, the fifth year running of over-supply, ILZSG has said. [ID:nLDE73D0H9]

Sources: CRU Group, ILZSG, Reuters (Compiled by London Commodities Desk, writing by Julie Gordon in Toronto, editing by Peter Galloway)

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