SHANGHAI, Nov 28 (SMM) – China’s imports of zinc concentrate declined in October after they hit an eight-month high in September, as import arbitrage window closed and maintenance at some smelters reduced demand for overseas materials in October.
A total of 250,000 mt of seaborne zinc concentrate entered China in October, 44,600 mt lower than a month earlier but 44,100 mt higher than a year ago, showed the latest data from China Customs.
Australia remained the top supplier, with zinc concentrate imports from the country taking up 45.6% of the total in October, standing at 93,100 mt.
Purchases under long-term contracts accounted for most of the imports last month as a closed import arbitrage window deterred the inflow of spot materials.
Top zinc smelters such as Henan Yuguang and Hunan Xuanhua conducted maintenance last month, affecting consumption of seaborne zinc concentrate, even as overall refined zinc production across domestic smelters hit a fresh record high in October.
Some smelters have stockpiled for winter and maintained their feedstock inventories at a stable level, which also squeezed demand for imports.
SMM expects demand for overseas zinc concentrate to recover in November as regular maintenance at some miners in south China and at medium-sized and small miners in Inner Mongolia will weigh on domestic concentrate supply.