SHANGHAI Chinas daily lead output for the first two months of the year averaged 11,017 tonnes, down from 13,645 tonnes per day in December, as the Chinese New Year holiday in February put the brakes on production.
Combined output for the two months rose 11.1 percent year on year to 650,000 tonnes, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data released March 12.
"There is actually little connection between final demand and lead output as lead smelters tend to organize production for long-term contracts and it is costly to halt and restart facilities, which would also make it hard to retain workers," Guo Yunfeng, an analyst at Galaxy Futures Co. Ltd. in Beijing, said.
While winter is usually a busy season for lead consumption, this past winter wasnt as good as some had expected. However, the effect on lead output was limited, Guo said.
Meanwhile, production might not rise as quickly as had been expected in the coming months.
"Medium-sized lead users like e-bike makers are fine, but major battery makers have not seen good booking orders and the busy season for lead consumption has also passed," Zhang Shu, a lead analyst at Shanghai Metals Market Information & Technology Co. Ltd. (SMM), said. "The current utilization ratio of lead smelters is already quite low at around 55 percent; there is little room for further production cuts."
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.