Chinese antimony prices poised to hold firm after gains

Chinese antimony prices poised to hold firm after gains

 

China’s antimony market is widely expected to hold steady in a narrow range in the near-term, after pushing higher in the past month, as supply shortages may offset flat consumer demand.

Prices for 99.85pc grade antimony metal were assessed higher by 1,000 yuan/t ($149/t) from 5 July to Yn83,000-84,000/t ex-works on 7 July, with the export range for 99.65pc grade metal rising by $200/t to $13,300-13,600/t over the same period.

Metal producers are maintaining low run rates because of limited availability for concentrate feedstock. They are being cautious about selling too much inventory at the current price, in anticipation of a further rise in prices if demand from the solar industry increases and from the flame retardant industry if it recovers from the global economic slowdown.

“We are not eager to sell below Yn84,000/t for 99.85pc grade metal as we cannot replenish cheaper concentrate feedstock now,” a metal smelter in the main production hub of Lengshuijiang city told Argus. “The current situation is a bit tricky as it is not easy to find metal, but it is not easy to sell metal either,” a second metal producer in Lengshuijiang said.

Key antimony producer Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star is set to suspend its blast furnaces on any day during 10-15 July because of a shortage in concentrate feedstock supplies, a company source told Argus. The firm previously suspended its blast furnace for more than a month from late May because of the same reason.

Hsikwangshan, with 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. Its output in 2022 is expected to fall as a result of depleting mine resources, as well as reduced concentrate shipments from supplying countries outside China.

China imported 9,888t of antimony concentrate during January-May this year, down by 44pc from the same period of 2021, according to Chinese customs data. Shipments were 2,307t in May, up from 988t in April but down from 4,981t a year earlier. Domestic antimony metal output reached 6,015t in May, down from 6,897t a year earlier and from 7,204t in April, data from the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association show.

China’s total metal output rose to 30,965t during January-May, up from 27,459t in the same period last year. But the slight increase in supplies has not weighed on the market as demand from the solar industry has doubled, according to market participants. Total annual antimony demand from the solar industry is expected to grow to 19,000-20,000t in 2022 from around 10,000 t/yr in previous years. Higher consumption of 35,000 t/yr is also possible if newly installed capacity in the solar industry grow largely by 2025, said market participants.

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.

Battery demand to reach $275bn by 2030: Avicenne

Battery demand to reach $275bn by 2030: Avicenne

London —

Global demand for batteries is expected to total 2.7TWh by 2030 with a valuation of $275bn, underpinned by strong growth in the electric vehicle (EV) and energy storage sectors, said Avicenne Energy today at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Mainz, Germany.

Demand for lithium-ion batteries — which use a range of metals including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite — is set to grow to 2.207TWh, with much of the rest of global demand taken by lead-acid batteries, which will still be used for EVs, according to Avicenne Energy. “We are probably conservative in our forecasts but we expect 35pc of the global automotive market will be electrified,” said Fabrice Renard, senior advisor at the company.

Demand from the EV segment in particular will be around 2TWh, according to Avicenne’s forecasts, growing by a compound annual growth rate of 28pc from 2021-30. The rest will come from a range of different applications for lithium-ion batteries.

“In non-portable, non-electronic and non-EV applications there is a lot of opportunity, and they are still growing,” Renard said, adding that applications in the e-bike, power tool and forklift truck sectors have continued to grow, as well as uses in energy storage, which will become more prominent later in the decade.

Asia continues to dominate the market

Planned capacity for batteries is expected to reach 3TWh by 2030, keeping pace with demand as battery giga-factories spring up in Europe, Asia and the US.

In Europe, the total share of global battery capacity will grow to 24pc of the market in 2030, from just 7pc in 2021. Asia’s total share of capacity is expected to shrink to 54pc in 2030 from 60pc in 2021, while North America will account for 13pc of global capacity, up from 11pc in 2021.

The majority of planned global expansions are in China, despite Europe increasing overall market share. China is expected to grow to just below 1.6TWh by 2030 from 220GWh in 2020. Europe will rise to 700GWh by 2030, up from a negligible amount in 2020.

Much of the expansion in Europe is a result of large investment in recent years into battery giga-factories. Despite this, Europe will remain reliant on Asia for some aspects of the battery supply chain.

“Around 55-60pc of the cost of a giga-factory is linked to cell manufacturing equipment and today this supply is mainly coming from Asia. Probably 90pc of the equipment arriving today is supplied by Chinese, Japanese and Korean companies,” said Renard.

The world is expected to need 3.5mn-5mn t of cathode active materials annually by 2030 to meet demand for batteries, up from below 800,000t in 2021.

“Probably 20pc of these materials will be needed for Europe, and today there are only two companies starting to produce cathode active materials, Umicore and BASF,” said Renard. “We will need, by 2030, 600,000-800,000t of cathodes… Until there are more capacity expansions, we will need to be supplied by Asian suppliers.”

 

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.