SHANGHAI, Jun. 3 (SMM) - China Customs reported that China imported 160,300 mt of zinc concentrate in April, up 116% MoM, and up 29.5% YoY. YTD imports through April were 580,000 mt, down 11.35% YoY.
Zinc imports soared to a high in April due mainly to steady demand and import profits.
Although zinc prices remained weak at the end of Q1, a recent SMM survey shows the average operating rate at domestic smelters remained high at 73%, with only a small number of enterprises cutting or suspending production.
Meanwhile, the SHFE/LME zinc price ratio rose to 7.9 in mid-April, and importers did not lower TC. SMM understands import TC in Q1 was concentrated between USD 125-135/mt, flat with early this year. As a result, domestic smelters interest in purchasing imported ore strengthened.
India was the largest supplier with 54,400 mt. Imports from Australia were 52,500 mt.
The SHFE/LME zinc price ratio in May remained profitable, but since demand for zinc concentrate was refrained by increasing smelters cutting or suspending production, import growth should be limited.