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Lead prices have found themselves under greater pressure in March, sliding to multi-month lows just above $2,300 per tonne, versus February’s high of $2,685 per tonne. With technical charts damaged, as a result, lead is likely to need a period of consolidation before recovering.

Indeed, the lack of movement in physical premiums and light stock outflows interspersed with large inflows suggest a subdued refined market in which there is good availability at present. That said, very low TCs – spot terms were stuck at just $10-25 per tonne in March and the annual benchmark was reportedly cut by 28% to $99 per tonne – point to a still-tight concentrate market, which will keep refined supply constrained; enough, we think, to create another annual supply deficit. This should underpin a resumption of the multi-year uptrend in lead prices in the coming months. However, that may require exchange stocks to resume their steady declines and for broader concerns to subside, allowing risk appetite to recover.

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