SHANGHAI, Apr. (SMM) - SMM surveys 48 Chinese primary lead smelters with total capacity at 4.69 million mt/yr and indicates that average operating rate at those surveyed was 63.37% in March, up 5.66 percentage points on a monthly basis.
Average operating rate at large smelters, capacity above 100,000 tonnes per year, expanded 10.31 percentage points MoM to 79.66% in March, in response to rising workdays in the month. However, Hunan Shuikoushan Nonferrous Metals Group and Guangxi Zhongjin Lingnan Mining Industry halved output due to maintenance.
The rate at medium smelters, capacity between 50,000-100,000 tonnes per year, was up 4.24 percentage points MoM to 54.04% in March. Honghe Red Lead Chemical resumed output in the month and Shibin Nonferrous Metal increased its output to normal level. Moreover, Hunan Guiyang Yinxing Nonferrous Smelt launched a new production line, doubling output. Gejiu Shadian Xingsha Nonferrous Smelting Factory and Yunnan Tin suspended production and reported no output.
Small smelters, capacity below 50,000 tonnes per year, saw the rate down by 7.54 percentage points MoM to 22.97% in March. As Yunnan’s Gejiu continued blast furnace reform in March, no smelters resumed operation yet.
In April, , many lead smelters chose to have maintenance and cut output due to falling lead prices and sluggish demand in spot market. Large lead smelter Hechi Nanfang Non-ferrous Metal Smelt plans to suspend output for 2 months due to system debugging, and Henan Yuguang Gold & Lead, Henan Jinli Gold & Lead Group and Jiyuan Wanyang Smelting Group will cut output. Medium lead smelter Shenzhen Jiangtong Southern, Chifeng Shanjin Ruipeng Trading and Shandong Humon Smelting will overhaul. Lingbao Zhicheng Lead will postpone reopening due to weak lead price and the date is unclear yet, while Yunnan Zhenxing Industry Group is expected to resume operation in the month. Some small lead smelters in Yunnan’s Gejiu will reopen in late April. SMM expects average operating rate at Chinese primary lead smelters to drop to 55.4% in April from March’s level.
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