SHANGHAI, Dec. 29 (SMM) –
China Customs reported that China imported 160,900 mt of lead concentrate in November, up 54.01% YoY, but down 8.85% MoM.
YTD lead concentrate imports through November increased a sharp 20.54% to 1.64 million mt due to two factors. First, lead concentrate supply was tight. Second, China’s importers were looking to import concentrate under letters of credit (L/C) as cash has become tighter.
China’s lead concentrate importers were unwilling to set contract prices in late October when LME lead leveled out and concentrate inventories were mounting at Chinese ports. As a result, concentrate imports fell even further in November than in October.
TCs for imported lead concentrate with low silver content (Pb 60%, silver content below 1,000g) were USD 150-160/dmt in November and rose to USD 155-165/dmt in December and as high as USD 170/dmt.
China imported 60,500 mt of lead concentrate – 37.6% of its total – from the US, which remained the largest supplier of 27, followed by Russia and Peru. Concentrate imports from these three countries collectively made up 59.3% of the total.
25,000 mt of lead concentrate was imported by companies under code 1506961604 which, however, have no record of concentrate imports in nearly 5 years. Imports by Yuguang Gold & Lead, Yuteng Nonferrous Metals, Tongguan Nonferrous Metals, and Anyang Yubei Gold & Lead tumbled 86.7%, 71.5%, 52.3%, and 41.9% MoM to 1,300 mt, 3,400 mt, 10,000 mt, and 2,200 mt, respectively, in November.
Imports of lead products totaled 1,402 mt in November, including 20 mt of refined lead, 1,377 mt of lead alloy (98.2% of the total), 3 mt of lead plates, as well as 2 mt of other lead semis products.
China exported 6,949 mt of lead products for the same month, including 4,672 mt of refined lead, 1,872 mt of lead plates, 109 mt of lead alloy and 296 mt of other lead semis products. Exports of refined lead and lead plates represented 94.2% of the total. China exported 1,798 mt and 1,877 mt of refined lead to Taiwan and Vietnam, respectively, still two major destinations. China’s refined lead exports were largely processing trade deals for lead concentrate with high silver content in November due to the unfavorable SMM/LME lead price ratio. Lead plates were exported to ASEAN members the same month.
As such, China’s net exports of lead products were 5,547 mt in November, hitting the highest of 2014.