China Customs reported that China imported 74,000 mt of zinc concentrate in March, down 54.4% MoM, a monthly low in recent years. YTD imports through March were 419,800 mt, down 21.08% YoY.
The sharp drop in zinc concentrate imports in March was attributable to the restart at domestic mines after the Chinese New Year holiday, which caused supply to stabilize. The SHFE/LME zinc price ratio has been hovering at low levels since late January. But zinc concentrate imports did not slide sharply since domestic zinc concentrate fell short as domestic mines had mostly suspended production during the holiday and since smelters maintained normal production. As zinc concentrate supply returned to normal now that domestic mines restarted production, imports shrank sharply in March due to the unfavorable SHFE/LME zinc price ratio.
Most zinc concentrate imports were made from Australia, Mongolia and Peru, with the volume accounting for 60.8% of the national total in the month.