BEIJING — China’s refined zinc output at 52 major smelters rose in April from the previous month, state-backed research house Antaike said late on Wednesday, as COVID-related transportation disruptions eased and new capacity started up.
Smelters surveyed by Antaike produced 438,000 tonnes of zinc last month, up by 11,000 tonnes from a revised output of 427,000 tonnes in March and 0.2% higher than a year earlier.
The increase mainly stemmed from new capacity additions and the resumption of output in Hunan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces and the Guangxi region, Antaike said, adding that transportation issues caused by movement restrictions to control COVID-19 outbreaks had gradually smoothed out in late April.
Still, the impact from the COVID outbreak weighed on producers’ utilization rates and caused a 1% decline in zinc output during the January-April period versus a year earlier, it said, noting that lower treatment charges dented production enthusiasm.
Antaike expects zinc output to rise to 453,000 tonnes in May on recovering logistics and raw material supplies, though production for the first five months of 2022 will remain at lower levels on an annual basis.
In a separate statement, the consultancy said China’s major lead smelters produced 416,000 tonnes of refined lead in April, up 17,000 tonnes from March and 2% higher than April 2021.
January to April lead production was 1.53 million tonnes, slipping 0.8% from a year earlier, said Antaike, which forecasts May output at 420,000 tonnes.
(Reporting by Min Zhang and Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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