SHANGHAI, Nov. 30 (SMM) –
China’s lead concentrate imports during November tumbled to 104,500 mt, down 49.09% MoM from October’s 205,300 mt. YTD imports through November were also down by 19.82% MoM to 1.36 million, based on data from China Customs.
Most lead concentrate shipments in November were booked from late September to early November, and during this period, LME lead prices rallied to a short-term high of USD 2,218/mt, up from USD 2,050/mt, but which lowered the Shanghai/LME price ratio from September’s average of 6.8 to 6.6-6.7 during October and November. As a result, the price ratio became even more unfavorable for lead concentrate imports.
China’s lead concentrate imports have accelerated since July to hit a new monthly import high of 205,300 mt in October. China’s lead mines also became less reluctant to move goods after SMM #1 lead prices stood above the RMB 14,000/mt mark, so lead smelters had ample domestic supplies in which to build stocks from and were able to rely less on lead concentrate imports during November.
Most lead concentrate imported during November was from Russia and the US, accounting for around 45% of total imports. Compared to October, imports from Belgium, Peru, and Germany were all down during November.
China’s refined lead imports during November were only 20 mt, little changed from October’s 14 mt. YTD imports through November also fell 89.28% YoY, to 693 mt. The Shanghai/LME lead price ratio during November hovered between 6.6-6.7, far from favorable for refined lead imports. The low price ratio, combined with a surplus of domestic refined lead, left demand for refined lead imports sluggish. Refined lead suppliers to China during November were South Korea and Germany.
China’s refined lead exports fell during November by 18.78% MoM, to 2,236 mt, YTD exports through November totaled 19,300 mt, a nearly ten-fold increase YoY. All refined lead exports were shipped to Asian countries, including South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.