SHANGHAI, Jul. 29 (SMM) – China’s lead concentrate imports rose sharply in June due largely to tight supply at home and a pick-up in the Shanghai/LME lead price ratio.
The country’s lead concentrate imports were 156,700 tonnes in June, up 11.6% from 140,000 tonnes in May and imports for the first half of this year were 784,000 tonnes, up 22.4% YoY, China Customs reported.
SMM understands that the significant rise in shipments was largely attributable to shortages of lead concentrate at home. Meanwhile, in addition to imports under long-term contracts, the rest of inbound shipments were booked in May when the Shanghai/LME lead price ratio rose from April’s 6.6 to 6.65.
32,000 tonnes, or 20% of China’s total lead concentrate imports, came from Poland, making it China’s No.1 supplier by imported volumes.
Nonetheless, SMM learns most of the lead concentrates from Poland were stocked at bonded warehouses instead of entering Chinese markets, since the $100-per-dry-tonne TC left smelters reluctant to buy.
Australia, Russia, the US, Iran, and North Korea contributed 55% to the total lead concentrate imports.