SHANGHAI, Oct 15 (SMM) – Operating rates across Chinese primary lead smelters increased by 1.28 percentage points to 60.33% in September, standing 7.91 percentage points lower than the same period last year, SMM data showed.
Higher rates across large-scale smelters drove up operating rates. SMM data showed that smelters with annual capacity greater than 100,000 mt operated at 66.83% in September, up 5.26 percentage points from August as Yunnan Chihong recovered from maintenance. Some in Jiyuan, Henan, returned to normal operation as output curbs in August ended.
Last month, technological upgrading at Anhui Tongguan ended while Western Mining undertook maintenance. This lowered operating rates across primary lead smelters, with annual capacity of 50,000-100,000 mt, 1.8 percentage points to 58.67%.
Operating rates across smaller plants with annual capacity below 50,000 mt decreased by 3.6 percentage points to 31.2% due to the shutdown of some smelters in Gejiu, Yunnan when the local government toughened its stance on blast furnaces.
SMM expects overall operating rates to decline 0.29 percentage point to 60.04% in October as maintenance at some smelters ends and some begin maintenance. This is set to reduce the output of primary lead.