March 3, 2020 / 5:08 AM / in a month

China zinc treatment charges fall for first time in two years

BEIJING, March 3 (Reuters) -

* Spot treatment charges (TCs) for zinc concentrate AM-TC50-ZNCON in China have fallen for the first time in almost two years, data from industry pricing and information provider Asian Metal shows, indicating a slight tightening of supply

* The charges - paid by miners to smelters to process zinc concentrate into refined metal - fell to $300 a tonne on March 2, down from an 11-year high of $305 a tonne

* The last time TCs dropped was on March 12, 2018, to just $15 a tonne. They have risen since then as abundant mine supply overwhelmed limited zinc smelting capacity

* Canadian miner Teck Resources and smelter Korea Zinc Inc have yet to announce a settlement on a TC benchmark for 2020

* China is the world’s biggest consumer of zinc, a metal used to galvanise steel; its mines are under cost pressure at current zinc prices, research house Antaike said on Monday, raising the prospect of production cuts

* Three-month zinc on the London Metal Exchange sank to $1,970 a tonne on Friday, its lowest since June 2016, as weak demand amid the coronavirus outbreak pushes inventories higher. However, prices have rebounded somewhat since then and risen 0.7% to $2,038 on Tuesday (Reporting by Tom Daly and Melanie Burton; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen)

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