SHANGHAI, Jul. 8 (SMM) – According to the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), China’s refined lead output in May was 374,200 mt, down 0.49% MoM. YTD output through May was 1.86 million mt, up 16.19% YoY.
China produced 287,700 mt of primary lead during May, a drop of 3.52% from April’s 298,200 mt. SMM’s latest survey also revealed the average operating rate at primary lead smelters fell from April’s 57.64% to 55.13% in May, and was due mainly to maintenance at medium and large smelters. The average price for #1 lead fell in May by RMB 300/mt and the average price for #1 silver also fell by over RMB 500/kg. Domestic concentrate supply was experiencing shortages, while the unfavorable Shanghai/LME lead price ratio allowed few opportunities for smelters to import lead concentrate profitably.
The CNIA reported primary lead output in Henan, Hunan, and Yunnan provinces fell in May by 2.84%, 9.81%, and 7.59% MoM, respectively, after Yuguang Gold & Lead, Wanyang Smelting, Anyang Minshan Nonferrous Metals, Shuikoushan Nonferrous Metals, and Tengyu all cut output or undertook maintenance. Output in Gansu and Guangxi was up, however, by 74.11% MoM and 131% MoM. The higher output in Gansu province was due largely to the resumption of operations at Baiyi Nonferrous, but the sharp increase in output in Guangxi is suspect since Cangwu Nonferrous Metals started maintenance in May. This loss would be offset by the resumption of output at Chengyuan, which should have resulted in a relatively flat output from April.
Secondary lead output during May was 106,600 mt, up 8.72% MoM. Anhui province’s secondary lead output fell to 3,000 mt, or a drop of 74% MoM, due mainly to maintenance at Huaxin Lead. Jiangsu province’s output also fell by 14% MoM to 11,500 mt, but output in Hubei province grew 131% MoM to 26,500 mt. However, SMM has confirmed that neither Jinyang Metallurgy nor Chukai Metallurgy, Hebei province’s two largest secondary lead smelters, increased output during May, so the provincial total is suspect.