FREE: Japan’s fluorspar imports to slump in H2 2012

Published: Wednesday, 29 August 2012

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Fluorspar imports into Japan are expected to drop in H2 2012, as hydrofluoric (HF) acid production slows, traders and consumers told IM Data.

Lower industrial activity has slowed HF acid consumption and with it the demand for acid grade fluorspar (acidspar) in Japan. As a result, the country’s HF producers are only operating at 60% to 70% capacity.

Stocks of acidspar are rising as a consequence. Japan-based fluorspar agents explained to IM Data that they are not able to sell the excess stocks to the market.

In 2011, Japan imported 96,251 tonnes of acidspar and 125,500 tonnes of metallurgical grade fluorspar (metspar), with the majority of supply coming from China, Mongolia and South Africa.

For the H1 2011, total imported metspar stood at 61,413 tonnes, compared to 59,246 tonnes for the same period in 2012, registering a drop of 3.5%. The import of acidspar also dropped by 2.8% from 43,464 tonnes in H1 2011 to 42,238 tonnes in H1 2012. 

Acidspar fully stocked for rest of 2012

According to an industry source, the country has enough acidspar stockpiles for the rest of the year. HF is the feedstock for fluorocarbons, a range of chemicals used in various consumer products such as refrigerants, coolants and air conditioners. At present, the HF operating rate in Japan is lower than in 2011, and the fluorspar inventory is at the highest levels of the year.

Japan has seen a slight decline in the total fluorspar (acidspar and metspar) imports in H1 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011, but the situation is set to get worse before it improves. 

Japan imports of acidspar 2011-2012

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