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More working days, profit recovery improve operations across secondary lead smelters
Operations across secondary lead smelters in China are likely to sharply expand from a month ago in March, without public holidays disrupting production and as a rebound in lead prices and the return of battery scrap suppliers prompted smaller smelters to resume.
According to an SMM survey released on March 26, the average operating rate across 28 secondary lead producers with total capacity of 3.47 million mt/year is estimated to rise 23.32 percentage points from February to stand at 56.12% in March.
The survey also showed that output of secondary lead is expected to stand at 162,200 mt in March, up 67,400 mt month on month.
After more than a month after the Chinese New Year holiday, operations across secondary lead smelters with production licences have returned to normal.
Lead prices rallied at the start of March and battery scrap supplies turned sufficient after traders returning from the holiday. This prompted secondary lead smelters without production licences and with delayed restarts to resume production.
Operating rates across large producers with annual capacity of 100,000 mt and above are expected to stand at 58.27% this month, up 22.58 percentage points from a month earlier.
Hubei Jinyang is likely to recover from furnace maintenance at the end of March, which would lift output for the month. Anhui Huaxin, however, has yet to fully recover and will suspend for close to 10 days for maintenance.
Operating rates across medium-sized producers with annual capacity of 50,000-100,000 mt are estimated to climb 24.83 percentage points from February to stand at 50.12%.
Small producers with annual capacity of less than 50,000 mt are likely to see their operating rates increase by 25.71 percentage points from a month ago to 68.57%.
Tianjin Toho began production on March 15, as expected, which would contribute to greater output for the month.