SHANGHAI, Jul. 31 (SMM) –
China Customs data show China imported 41,700 mt of zinc in July, up 50.94% YoY, but down 39.13% MoM. The SHFE/LME zinc price ratio hovered between 7.1-7.2 in July, leaving import losses above RMB 1,000/mt. This pushed zinc imports down to the second-lowest for the year. In addition, high operating rates at smelters led to sufficient domestic zinc supply, which also dented demand for imported zinc.
Kazakhstan, Australia, South Korea and Namibia were the four largest zinc suppliers to China in July, with 11,100 mt, 10,600 mt, 4,200 mt and 4,000 mt, respectively, which amounted to 71.6% in the national total imports. Imports from Kazakhstan grew 6,100 mt, topping the list. Imports from Australia, however, were down 12,600 mt, coming in second. Imports from South Korea increased 3,100 mt, and imports from Namibia remained largely unchanged from June's.
China imported 165,600 mt of zinc concentrate in July, up 4.04% MoM, but down 15.1% YoY, according to China Customs.
The SHFE/LME zinc price ratio hovered between 7.1-7.3 June-July, much lower than last year. This pushed losses on imports above RMB 1,000/mt. When combined with weakened demand from finance-driven trading, zinc concentrate imports have dropped noticeably YoY. On top of this, domestic zinc concentrate remains in oversupply that, coupled with a RMB 100/mt hike in TC in July from rising zinc prices, has kept domestic ore popular with smelters.
The number of countries supplying zinc concentrate to China decreased by 7 to 16 in July. Australia, Peru and Ireland were China's most important suppliers of zinc concentrate in July. Imports from Australia leapt 24,800 mt to 66,700 mt, topping the list. Imports from Peru fell 6,200 mt, while imports from Ireland grew 8,500 mt. China imported no zinc concentrate from South Africa in July. Nanning Customs, Nanjing Customs and Changsha Customs were the three largest zinc concentrate entry ports in July.