Lead concentrate TCs move out of premium, zinc terms head to fresh lows on China buying

Spot lead concentrate treatment charges (TCs) have returned to positive levels after an import arbitrage into China faded, conversely, zinc TCs have continued to slump while Chinese smelters stock up for the winter months.

Market makers have gathered in Shenzhen for the annual Antaike China Zinc and Lead Week conference and many will continue to negotiate long-term agreements at CESCO in Shanghai.
Annual negotiations are underway, with traders continuing to place bullish bets on next year’s supply balance, however spot terms remain in limbo while smelters rebuff offers of tonnes at low TCs if they are able to.
Lead conc premiums wiped out
Lead concentrate terms have rebounded to $10-25 per tonne having reached some of the lowest levels in market memory (assessed at -$25 to $5) during October.
Spot lead concentrates supply remains tight so reported trades were accordingly low-tonnage, with several 100-700 tonne deals and a few in the low thousands.
But without a profitable arbitrage to enable smelters in China to make money even when paying a dollar premium on TCs, these extremely low bids are drying up.


Echo Ma

Archie Hunter

November 27, 2017

16:05 GMT