SHANGHAI, Mar 8 (SMM) – Resumption from maintenance in Hunan province grew operating rates across Chinese primary lead smelters in the week ended Friday March 8.
Operating rates across primary lead smelters in Henan, Hunan and Yunnan provinces increased 2.6 percentage points week on week, and averaged 56.4% in the week through March 8, SMM data showed.
Smelters of Hunan Yuteng and Yinxing generated output this week, after they ended maintenance as of Friday March 1. This buoyed operating rates across smelters in Hunan by 12.3 percentage points to 47.7% this week.
While operating rate in Yunnan went flat at 36.9% week on week, rates across plants in Henan dipped 2.1 percentage points to 69%, pressured by a smog alert and the two political sessions in Beijing.
To lower pollution emission, some lead smelters in Henan cut capacity of concentrate processing by 10-30% from last week. This had little impact on local production of refined lead, as producers purchased crude lead from other areas.
In the latter half of this week, however, a tighter supply of crude lead affected the production of refined lead in Henan, by some 400 mt/day as of Friday March 8. The situation is likely to last for a week.
SMM expects overall production of primary lead to increase steadily and weigh on prices before the next round of maintenance, which is expected at the end of March to the start of April.