SHANGHAI, May 3 (SMM) – China Customs reported that China imported 110,000 mt of lead concentrate in March, down 27.14% YoY and 15.24% MoM. Total imports were 336,000 mt during January-March, falling 16.46% YoY.
The large drop in domestic concentrate imports in March was mainly as falling TCs narrowed profits for imported materials. In February, average profit for imports was RMB 370/mt (Pb content) above domestic materials. But overseas silver prices were higher than in domestic market. As such, imported concentrate almost had no price advantage over domestic concentrate.
Lead smelters thus showed low interest in imports owing to thinner profits. Imports by smelters, accounted for 45% of total imports in March, slipping from last month. Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead imported 16,000 mt of concentrate in March, versus 11,000 mt by Yuteng Nonferrous Metals. The number of smelters with imports exceeding 10,000 mt fell to 2 from 4 in March.
China imported concentrate from 26 countries in March, with Russia as the top supplier. A total of 22,000 mt of imports were from the country.
No imports from US were reported in March and the last time that China imported no concentrate from US in a month can date back to February 2014. Two main mines in US were Red Dog mine and Missouri mine. The Red God mine starts delivering goods in July each year and Missouri mine, with annual capacity of 250,000 mt, planned to cut concentrate output by 20,000 mt this year.
About 27,000 mt of imports were from goods at bonded warehouses. Concentrate inventories at Port of Lianyungang registered no gains in March and most imports were digested by market.