Weaker demand to dampen Chinese antimony prices

Weaker demand to dampen Chinese antimony prices

Beijing, 16 May —

Chinese antimony prices are expected by market participants to soften further in the short term because of limited demand from the flame retardant industry, following consecutive price falls over the past month.

Prices have continued to fall since 12 April from a 10-year high in mid-March, as Covid-19 outbreaks and lockdowns in China have stemmed market activity and buying interest in the main consumption areas in east China.

Prices for 99.65pc grade antimony metal were last assessed unchanged at 79,000-80,000 yuan/t ($11,636-11,784/t) ex-works on 12 May, following a combined fall of Yn2,500/t over 12 April-10 May.

Most primary antimony metal is used as a flame retardant together with bromine, which is added in plastic products that are further consumed by the electronics, vehicles and other instrument industries.

But renewed buying interest from the seaborne market in February and March shored up market confidence and prompted antimony producers to float higher offer prices during these two months, when they expected downstream consumers to replenish stocks when they run out of stocks in this year’s second quarter. China exported 3,772t of antimony metal during January-March, up by 26pc from 2,996t a year earlier, customs data show.

“Domestic and overseas demand became weak in April and we are unsure when the situation will be better,” a market participant told Argus.

Major Chinese antimony producer Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star closed its blast furnace in late April because of low concentrate feedstock availability. The suspension is expected to last for at least one month. Hsikwangshan, with 40,000 t/yr of output capacity for antimony products, produced 24,000t last year, down from 26,000t in 2020 and 28,000t in 2019.

Production halts

The seven private-sector metal producers in Lengshuijiang have a combined output capacity of 35,000-40,000 t/yr. They are likely to completely halt metal production if concentrate supply shortages persist in May.

They also halted their blast furnaces in April because of concentrate supply shortages. Some of them may not restart their furnaces this year because all feedstock supplies will be shipped to large-scale producers such as Hsikwangshan and Chenzhou Mining, according to sources at some smelters.

China imported 6,557t of antimony concentrate during January-March, down by 18pc from a year earlier, according to customs data. Shipments reached 2,493t in March, down from 3,671t a year earlier.

There will remain downside potential for the antimony market in the short term because of slower economic growth caused by China’s lockdowns. It is unlikely prices will drop significantly in the long term either, as tighter metal supplies continue and the lockdowns in Shanghai are expected to be gradually lifted next month, according to market participants.

Article Retrieved from: ArgusMetal

For More Information on Antimony Products 

SLG offers a variety of antimony products that serve a variety of needs. For more information on our antimony products please visit our Flame Retardants page, or you can always give us a call here at our office by visiting our Contact Us page.

China’s January-March antimony metal output rises

China’s January-March antimony metal output rises
Beijing, 9 May (Argus) — 

China’s antimony metal output during January-March increased on the year, with producers lifting production in response to higher spot prices in the first three months of the year, and renewed demand from seaborne consumers.

Production totalled 17,746t, up from 14,742t in the same period last year, according to China’s Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNMIA) data. Production in March rose to 7,324t, up from 3,280t in February, and up from 4,371t in March 2021.

Export prices for the metal were assessed stable at $13,700-13,900/t fob during 25 April-5 May, following a fall of $400/t on 21 April. Prices are likely to fall further this week on weaker demand both from domestic and seaborne consumers.

Key metal producers in Hunan’s Lengshuijiang city in late April closed their blasting furnaces on a lack of concentrate availability. This, coupled with the expectations of a recovery in economic growth after the current Covid-19 crisis in the country is brought under control, may slow the downward trend of the market.

China’s antimony metal production
Province Jan-Mar 2021 Jan-Mar 2022
Hunan 12,051 14,971
Yunnan 1,335 1,579
Guangxi 371 509
Guizhou 985 686
Total 14,742 17,746
Source: China’s Nonferrous Metals Industry Association

 

Article Retrieved from: ArgusMetal

For More Information on Antimony Products 

SLG offers a variety of antimony products that serve a variety of needs. For more information on our antimony products please visit our Flame Retardants page, or you can always give us a call here at our office by visiting our Contact Us page.

Chinese antimony smelters shut furnaces on ore shortage

Chinese antimony smelters shut furnaces on ore shortage
Beijing, 28 April (Argus) —Major Chinese antimony producer Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star closed its blast furnace this week because of a lack of concentrate feedstock availability. The suspension is expected to last for at least one month.

All seven private-sector metal producers in Lengshuijiang city, China’s largest antimony production hub, have also halted their blast furnaces this month because of concentrate supply shortages. They may not reopen their furnaces this year because all feedstock supplies will be shipped to large producers such as Hsikwangshan and Chenzhou Mining, according to sources at some smelters.

Hsikwangshan’s antimony mine can support only 200-300 t/month metal equivalent of antimony production, so it has to purchase concentrate and metal from other producers to maintain its production. Hsikwangshan, which has 40,000 t/yr of capacity for antimony products, produced 24,000t last year, down from 26,000t in 2020 and 28,000t in 2019.

The seven private-sector metal producers in Lengshuijiang have a combined capacity of 35,000-40,000 t/yr. They are likely to completely stop metal production if concentrate supply shortages persist in May.

China imported 6,557t of antimony concentrate during January-March, down by 18pc from a year ago, according to Chinese customs data. Shipments reached 2,493t in March, down from 3,671t a year earlier. Depleting resources in China and reduced shipments from other countries have prompted the smelters in Lengshuijiang to close their blast furnaces.

Argus assessed prices for 99.85pc grade metal stable at 81,000-82,000 yuan/t ($12,270-12,420/t) ex-works this week, following a fall of Yn1,000/t on 21 April.

“We have limited metal stocks, and sold 40t of 99.85pc grade metal at Yn81,000/t this week to generate cash,” a source at a smelter in Lengshuijiang told Argus.

Most producers and traders are upbeat about the market outlook, despite low demand from downstream consumers over this past month. They find it meaningless to cut offer prices to attract sales because consumers will not make purchases even if prices move lower, after Covid-19 lockdowns forced them to also halt production. Prices are likely to move up in the coming months in light of continued tight supply and expected restocking activity from domestic and overseas consumers, market participants said.

Article Retrieved from: ArgusMetal

For More Information on Antimony Products 

SLG offers a variety of antimony products that serve a variety of needs. For more information on our antimony products please visit our Flame Retardants page, or you can always give us a call here at our office by visiting our Contact Us page.