Nov 13 (Reuters) - China's copper and lead production rose to record highs in October, as smelters ramped up production to take advantage of higher treatment and refining charges (TC/RC) given increased concentrate supply.
Refined copper output rose 8.6 percent to 520,000 tonnes, with total production in the first ten months up 7.4 percent at 4.94 million tonnes.
"Chinese copper smelters had kept their output levels abnormally low during the first half of this year due to low TC/RC prices then. Now that TC/RC prices have risen, they are catching up with some of the lost production," said Shanghai Metals Market copper researcher Angela Wang.
"But these production decisions were probably made at the start of last month after prices were fairly high, we see a chance of production dropping off in November and December should refined copper prices stay low."
Trade sources said TC/RC rates for copper have risen around $20-$30 a tonne over the past two months to around $80-90.
Lead production jumped 18 percent from a year ago to 471,000 tonnes, compared with 461,000 tonnes in September, as higher domestic prices encourage smelters to raise output.
"We are continuing to see more output from lead recyclers coming back online after a nationwide clampdown on lead producing industries last year," said Wang Ye, an analyst at General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Production of primary aluminium jumped 20.3 percent from a year ago to 1.72 million tonnes for the month - the second-highest this year in part due to new plants coming onstream.
Analysts have said that China's aluminium output is expected to stay at elevated levels as a rise in railway investment helps boost orders for alloy producers.