(Adds graphic) Nov 12 (Reuters) - The global zinc concentrate market is forecast to switch back to a surplus in 2021, after a short-lived deficit this year, Chinese metals research house Antaike said on Thursday. Rising production could return the world's zinc concentrate market to a surplus of 82,000 tonnes in 2021, after coronavirus-driven supply disruptions kept the market at an estimated deficit of 151,000 tonnes this year, said Xia Cong, the manager of the lead and zinc department at Antaike. "2021 will be the peak time for overseas projects to increase and resume production. Taking COVID-19 into consideration, it (production) will peak starting from the second quarter or even from the middle of the year," Xia said in a video of her presentation at the China International Lead and Zinc conference in Chengdu. The market was also in surplus in 2018 and 2019, according to Xia. The overseas supply decline this year dragged treatment charges lower at smelters. Spot treatment charges for zinc concentrate imported into Chinafell from $305 a tonne in February, the highest since May 2008, to $95 a tonne, the lowest since Sept. 2018, on Wednesday, as assessed by Asian Metal. China is forecast to have a zinc concentrate surplus until 2022, before switching to a deficit from 2023, Xia said. The refined zinc market could be in surplus globally until to 2025, while the Chinese market is seen in surplus until 2021 before switching to deficit in 2022-2025, according to Xia. She estimated 2021 average zinc prices at $2,400 a tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME) and 19,000 yuan ($2,867) a tonne on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE). Benchmark three-month LME zinc was at $2,620 a tonne at 0641 GMT while ShFE's most-traded December zinc contract traded at 20,015 yuan a tonne. LEAD Zinc's sister metal, lead, could be in a deficit in China this year of 28,000 tonnes but switch to a surplus of 77,000 tonnes in 2021, said Zhang Zhiwei, a senior analyst at Antaike, at the conference. Globally, the refined lead market is seen in surplus in both 2020 and 2021, Zhang added. ANTAIKE FORECASTS Zinc concentrate (tonnes) Balance 2020 2021 China +202,000 +132,000 World -151,000 +82,000 Refined zinc (tonnes) Balance 2020 2021 China +50,000 +110,000 World +290,000 +298,000 Refined lead (tonnes) Balance 2020 2021 China -28,000 +77,000 World +21,000 +55,000 ($1 = 6.6282 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; additional reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Edmund Blair)
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