SHANGHAI, Apr. 16 (SMM) – Chinese zinc smelters were still holding sufficient zinc concentrate inventories, SMM’s latest survey showed, as most smelters had built stocks before the Chinese New Year holiday.
China’s zinc concentrate output, in metal content, fell 3.17% year-on-year to 585,000 tonnes in January-February, the National Bureau of Statistics reported.
Imports of the raw material over the same period were 395,900 tonnes, up 15.53% from a year earlier. Based a grade of 50% for imported concentrate, China’s total zinc concentrate supply hit 783,000 tonnes during the first two months.
The China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association data indicated that zinc concentrate output was 797,000 tonnes during the first two months, and concentrate demand was 826,000 tonnes, leaving a deficit of some 37,000 tonne, down from the same period last year.
Some Chinese zinc smelters conducted maintenance in March, limiting growth in concentrate demand.
Mining and dressing enterprises in northeast and northwest China as well as Sichuan told SMM they had plans to restart production in April, which would lift China’s zinc concentrate supply. But as maintenance operations at many smelters were expected to continue through April, operating rates at smelters were unlikely to show significant increase. Zinc concentrate supply in China might exceed demand during April-May, pushing up TCs for domestic zinc concentrate.