LME Week: Chinese lead smelters may exit as green policies step up

china-smelters-exit

Some Chinese lead smelters may leave the market due to the pressure of environmental protection policies, an analyst at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Assn said.

MetalBulletin | Andrea Hotter | 13 Oct. 2015

Some Chinese lead smelters may leave the market due to the pressure of environmental protection policies, an analyst at the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Assn said.

“Prevention and control of heavy-metal pollution has become the lifeline of survival and development for lead enterprises,” analyst Lou Yonggang said during a CNMIA seminar in London.

“Chinese lead consumption has entered a plateau. As a result of the development of lighter, smarter, lithium-powered electric cars, the lead market space will be further compressed,” he added.

But there are other factors at work. Chinese lead production fell in 2014, due to a ‘new normal’ and shrinking demand, Lou said.

He defined the new normal as slower Chinese growth, sluggish demand, fluctuating prices, falling profitability and cash constraints on companies.

Lead consumption is still growing, however. In 2014, China consumed 4.9 million tonnes of lead, a rise of 2% year-on-year.

Lou forecast the country’s lead consumption to rise slightly in 2015, to 4.92 million tonnes, and to reach 5 million tonnes in 2016.

Most of China’s lead consumption is from batteries, with e-bikes being the largest lead-acid battery application field.

About 160 million people in China own cars, and 200 million own e-bikes, Lou said.

Andrea Hotter
ahotter@metalbulletin.com
Twitter: @andreahotter

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