Lead may be buoyed by e-bikes in China

Dec 22, 2008 | 11:58 AM | Anne Riley

Three-month lead fell to a 40-month low Monday on the London Metal Exchange due to weakening global demand, but insiders aren't worried.

Even as the future of lead's primary market—vehicle batteries—remains uncertain, a growing demand for electric bicycles (e-bikes) throughout China should support the lead market through turbulent economic times, market participants said.

Paul White of the International Lead and Zinc Study Group said that demand for e-bikes has been on the rise in China, and with each bike sporting a lead-acid battery the lead industry has reaped the benefits.

"You've had a huge rise in the Chinese e-bike population, and these bikes all use lead-acid batteries," he said. "The batteries used are smaller than a car battery, but because the e-bike battery is the sole power source for the bike it obviously discharges faster than a car battery." E-bike batteries suffer more wear and tear and need to be replaced every eight to 10 months, unlike their automotive counterparts, which generally last three to four years.....





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