SHANGHAI, May 28 (SMM) – China's imports of zinc concentrate extended declines in April as flooding in Australia, a major exporter to China, disrupted zinc concentrate supplies.
The latest customs data showed that domestic imports of zinc concentrate in April dipped by 23,000 mt on the month to stand at 179,300 mt, in physical content. The reading also slid 23,000 mt from a year ago.
Peru surpassed Australia to become the top zinc concentrate exporter to China last month. The South American country exported some 45,800 mt of zinc concentrate to China in April, accounting for 26% of the total, while materials from Australia took up 20%.
Imported zinc concentrate from Australia fell from 65,800 mt in March, to 36,500 mt April as floods cut the rail line used to carry zinc concentrate from the Mt Isa region to port.
The import arbitrage window remained closed last month, and this also kept seaborne materials from entering China. Ramped-up production of domestic zinc concentrate also dampened demand for imports.
SMM expects zinc concentrate imports to rebound in May, to 230,000-250,000 mt, as zinc railway in Australia reopened to freight after floods. However, a closed import window and growing domestic output will weigh on imports in the months ahead.