March 12, 2020: Lead acid battery makers in China saw their operating rates climb to 48% by March 6 as workers returned following the coronavirus crisis, which China says has stabilized there as it expands across the rest of the world.
Operating rates at most battery producers recovered towards 70%, producers in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Jiangxi provinces speeding up recovery, the Shanghai Metals Market said.
“The recovery of small and medium-scale producers in the central province of Henan and the northern province of Hebei was slower, and some producers remained shut until March,” the SMM said.
Producers in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, stayed closed.
Primary lead smelters in China also stepped up production this week, according to the SMM, although its data showed lead output had declined by more than expected in February.
“Most lead smelters delayed their resumption after the Chinese New Year holiday. Major producers such as Hunan Yuteng and Yunnan Zhenxing also extended their suspension after maintenance and did not recover operations until late February,” the SMM said.
At the time of release of the bulletin, media reports suggested new cases of COVID-19 in China were down to single figures.