China Q1 magnesia exports hit record high as values plunge

By Albert Li
Published: Friday, 09 June 2017

Exports from January continued to increase; CCM, DBM volumes hit record highs; average value saw steady decline

The value of exported magnesia, including calcined caustic magnesia (CCM), dead burned magnesia (DBM), fused magnesia (FM),  dropped over 20% year-on-year in March, while the quantity of material exported has risen, following the scrapping of the export quota in January.

CCM and DBM, in particular, have reached record high export volumes.

Holland, Japan and the US were the top three destination countries for every kind of magnesia product. 

Calcined caustic magnesia

In March, exports of CCM from China hit historical records, reaching 71,140 tonnes, up 207% y-o-y and 162% month-on-month. The average value meanwhile has dropped from $189/tonne in December 2016, down to $162/tonne in January, $145.63/tonne in February and $126.71/tonne in March. Compared with March 2016, the average price has dropped 39.2% y-o-y.

China magnesia exports January 2016-March 2017 (tonnes) 

Dead burned magnesia

Similarly, DMB exports in March also hit levels not seen since December 2014, reaching 100,190 tonnes, up 111% y-o-y and 66% m-o-m. The average value of DBM exported, meanwhile, has dropped 24.63% and 24.52% since December and March 2016 respectively, to $182.05/tonne in March.

Fused magnesia

The average price of FM exported in March was at a similar level to February but was still 27.7% lower y-o-y at $383.89/tonne. The average price was also over $100 cheaper than December 2016 levels. Quantities of FM exported on the other hand, were fewer than January.

This upward trend may not continue in Q2 due to the production stoppage in Liaoning (see p18), the main producing area in China. It remains unclear when production will come back online, several China-based contacts told IM.