SHANGHAI, Jan. 16 (SMM) –
An SMM survey of 40 domestic major primary lead smelters (total capacity: 3.64 million mt/yr) reveals the following insights:
According to an SMM survey of domestic primary lead smelters, refined lead output at China's major primary lead smelters during December was 183,000 mt, down 1,600 mt from November. After increasing in November, the average operating rate in December fell 0.53%, to 60.86%.
In December, refined lead output remained stable and operating rates fell marginally. According to an SMM survey, larger enterprises with capacities over 100,000 mt/yr were driving overall operating rates in December. Opearating rates at these enterprises increased by about 5 %, with output at Yuguang Gold and Lead Company and Wanyang Smeltery Group increasing significantly following completion of repairs. Refined lead output and operating rates at enterprises with capacities below 50,000 mt/yr remained basically unchanged.
The decline in operating rates during December was therefore caused by falling operating rates at medium-sized enterprises with capacities between 50,000 and 100,000 mt. Repairs began in late November at many enterprises, especially at Yunnan Tin Group, pulled down average rates at medium-sized enterprises, falling by 70,000 mt, even as Guiyang Yinxing Nonferrous Smelt resumed refined lead production in December. Some other enterprises began repairs after achieving scheduled output, this also contributed to the lower December output.
Lead prices in December did not increase from November levels, so lead smelters remained cautious. Yunnan Tin Group became the major cause of the slight decline in operating rates and this lower output was in line with SMM expectations.