NEW YORK Imports of refined lead in the first five months of 2013 recorded an 80.7-percent increase over 2012 figures, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Imports of lead for consumption in January to May totaled 244,000 tonnes up from 135,000 tonnes in the same period last year.
The increase was partially attributed to lead consumers and traders accumulating stocks in anticipation of the planned closure of Doe Run Resources Corp.s primary lead smelter and refinery in Herculaneum, Mo. at yearend, according to the USGS.
Meanwhile, total May imports of lead for consumption slipped to 37,000 tonnes in May from 45,000 tonnes in April.
Lead exports in May, excluding scrap, were down 45 percent from April due to a decrease in lead contained in ore and concentrate exports.
Exports of spent lead-acid batteries decreased by 6 percent in May to 2.38 million tonnes compared with 2.53 million tonnes in April but exports increased by about 10 percent for the first five months of the year to 10.7 million tonnes compared with 9.64 million tonnes in the same period of 2012.
Domestic recoverable mine production of lead was up 1 percent in May, but down 2.2 percent for the January-to-May period. While reported domestic lead consumption remained unchanged from April to May (114,000 tonnes), it decreased 6.3 percent for the year-to-date period (585,000 tonnes from 624,000 tonnes).