SHANGHAI, Sept. 30 (SMM) – The average operating rate at China’s major lead-acid battery producers was down 0.41 percentage point month-on-month to 53.93% in August, a recent SMM survey showed.
The average operating rate at motive battery producers fell in August to the lowest among all categories of battery producers, down from July’s 45.01% to 44.16%. Intensifying price wars saw the price of 48V 12AH batteries fall to as low as 250-260 yuan, below the cost of 290 yuan. Consequently, motive battery producers turned reluctant to carry on production due to big losses. Meanwhile, technological renovations at some large battery producers caused their output to fall below normal levels.
The average operating rate at backup battery producers was down 1.04 percentage points month-on-month to 67.19% in August. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that mobile telecommunication base stations decreased 24% month-on-month to 28.75 million channels in August, but rose 140% in the first eight months.
SMM noted that the fall in the operating rate was due in large part to environmental protection inspections and the lack of workers, despite ample orders. China Customs reported that China’s backup batteries in August rose 3% month-on-month to 17.35 million units, the highest since the start of the year. Demand for backup batteries in domestic and overseas markets was robust in August.
The average operating rate at ignition battery producers increased 0.76 percentage point to 52.88% in August. Despite consistently soft demand, most large car battery producers slowed promotions in August, which encouraged battery distributors to buy and in turn boosted orders. The NBS revealed that China’s automobile output in August fell 0.34% to 1.71 million vehicles. Some ignition battery producers reported that decreasing orders from the automobile market prevented them from raising operating rates sharply.