China's State Reserves Bureau (SRB) has scheduled to meet Chinese zinc smelters to buy the metal for state reserves, part of its plan to buy base metals to help loss-making smelters and boost consumption, industry sources said on Monday.

SRB has called a meeting on Jan 14. It may buy 200,000 tonnes, a source said.

He added five or six large smelters would attend the meeting during which smelters would bid for the SRB's purchase.

SRB is expected to pay higher prices than those in the spot market to smelters, sources said.

Jing Chuan, chief researcher for Great Wall Futures in Shanghai, said the buying is part of the government's plan to increase reserves on resources.

The 200,000 tonnes of zinc from smelters was smaller than an expected 300,000 tonnes but it would still tighten supply to the spot market and drive up prices, given the current surplus in zinc market was not very big, Jing said.

SRB, responsible for building and managing China's reserves, bought 30 tonnes of indium at 2,000 yuan per kg for the first time to build such stock from a large smelter during a bidding meeting in Beijing last month.

It has agreed to buy 290,000 tonnes of primary aluminium ingots from eight smelters of which 150,000 tonnes would come from Chalco (2600.HK)(601600.SS), the country's top smelter.

The state body has also bought grains reserves. For more details on the SRB's recent purchases, click on [ID:nPEK7636]. (Editing by Ben Tan)

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