SHANGHAI, Aug. 29 (SMM) –
According to China Customs, China’s imports of lead concentrate were 90,096 mt in July, up 1.1% MoM. YTD imports through July reached 750,899 mt, up 3.72% YoY.
China imported 14,784 mt lead concentrate from Russia, making Russia become the largest supplier of imported lead concentrate in July, followed by Peru and US, with imports of 11,613 mt and 10,494 mt, respectively. Including July, Russia was the largest supplier of imported lead concentrate for three consecutive months.
Based on YTD imports through July, Peru ranked first in total imports, supplying 165,388 mt lead concentrate, despite a YoY drop of 17.28%. Russia was second with imports through July of 73,032 mt, up 84.74% YoY. The US was the third largest supplier with YTD imports through July of 39,693 mt.
Based on import and export data from China Customs, the refined lead import and export market remained quiet. China made no exports of refined lead during July, with YTD exports through July at 5,746 mt. China imported 253 mt refined lead in July, down 40.75% MoM, while YTD imports through July were 4,742 mt, also down 56.28% YoY.
Sluggish exports of refined lead were due mainly to tight supply of refined lead and lead price movements. In early July, lead smelters in Henan province were suffering strict environmental protection inspections, limiting output and tightening domestic supply of refined lead. Due to the inspections, many domestic lead-acid battery producers cut or halted production as demand during July remained weak. Middlemen, however, were active in trading in July due to rising prices, causing an increase in demand for refined lead compared with May and June. As a result, domestic lead markets experienced slight shortages, helping restrict exports.
During the first seven months of 2011, China exported 5,746 mt refined lead, down 54.64% YoY, while China’s average monthly exports of refined lead was also down significantly on a yearly basis and closely related to China’s refined lead import and export policies. China has removed export tax rebates on lead due to its high pollution effect, causing refined lead exports to fall continuously.
During July, South Korea was China’s only supplier of refined lead. Based on YTD data through July, China imported 2,230 mt refined lead from South Korea, accounting for 47% of China’s total imports of refined lead. The monthly average import volume was stable during the first seven months of 2011, with the lowest monthly volume of 100 mt.