SHANGHAI, Apr. 2 (SMM) – Data from China Customs show China imported 110,300 mt of lead concentrate during February, down 18.56% MoM. YTD imports through February were 245,700 mt, down 1.04% YoY.
In addition to the lack of transportation capacity during the Chinese New Year holiday, the sharp decline in February imports is also attributed to the decline in the Shanghai/LME lead price ratio, which fell from 6.45 in December to 6.32 in January. However, suspended production at Chinese mines during the winter created shortages, so lead concentrate imports only fell by 1.04% MoM during February given rigid demand from smelters.
Most lead concentrate imports during February were from Peru, Russia, and Australia, with the imports from these three countries accounting for 46% of China’s total imports. No imports were reported from the US, which is traditionally a major supplier, but SMM expects imports from US will be reflected in March data.