SHANGHAI, Apr. (SMM) - SMM survey of 23 Chinese secondary lead smelters, representing 2.08 million mt in total capacities, reveals that average operating rate at those surveyed expanded 3.17% MoM to 60.13% in March. Total output at those surveyed was up 5,000 mt to 101,250 in March on a monthly basis.
Average operating rate at large secondary lead smelters, capacity above 100,000 mt/yr, increased 1.31 percentage points MoM to 83.33% in March. The rate rose to 35.56% at medium smelters, capacity between 50,000-100,000 mt/yr. The rate declined slightly to 44.78% at small smelters, capacity below 50,000 mt/yr.
Closure of small secondary lead smelters increased raw material supply in China’s market. Moreover, secondary lead supply tightened after small smelters shut down, growing large secondary lead smelters’ production interest.
SMM learned that almost 80% of small secondary lead smelters have closed down in China with few online smelters in Shandong, Henan and Hebei. Most secondary lead smelters showed low operation resumption interest in response to repeated environmental checks and weak prices.
SMM expects that operating rate at small secondary lead smelters to drop further in response of narrowing profits from falling lead price, easing raw material supply for large secondary lead smelters. However, environmental protection inspection team arrived at Anhui in April, restricting operating rate at some large secondary lead smelters. SMM expects operating rate at large secondary lead smelters to stabilize or drop in April.
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