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BEIJING: China’s copper cathode output jumped 5.8% in February from a month earlier, as major smelters ramped up production after maintenance, data from research house Antaike showed on late Thursday.

A group of 22 copper smelters in China, accounting for some 83% of the country’s total capacity, made 785,900 tonnes of copper cathodes last month, up from a revised January output of 751,700 tonnes and 3.5% higher than February 2021.

The rising output came as most producers had no maintenance outages planned for February, while environmental-related production curbs had a minor impact, said Antaike. It said it expects copper output from these smelters to continue to rise to around 800,000 tonnes in March.

In the first two months of 2022, the survey smelters churned out 1.53 million tonnes of copper, up 3.3% from the same period a year earlier. China’s lead production, however, fell 51,000 tonnes in February from the previous month to 332,000 tonnes, according to the research house.

“Due the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year holiday) and continuing impact from the Beijing Winter Olympics, while there were fewer days for production in February, primary and secondary lead output dropped significantly on the month,” Antaike said in a separate statement. It said it sees China’s refined lead production at around 410,000 tonnes this month. Refined zinc output from 52 smelters in China stood at 435,000 tonnes in February, falling 14,000 tonnes from January but up 2.1% on an annual basis.

Antaike said zinc production could rise to more than 445,000 tonnes to a record for March, but might fall back in April amid raw material supply concerns.

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