IM Prices June 2017

By IM Staff
Published: Friday, 09 June 2017

Chemical chromite market drops over 30% on low demand; massive production shutdown in China lifts bauxite prices; Chinese acidspar spot prices hit four-year high

IM’s full price listing is only published online. If you have any comments or concerns, or wish to discuss any of the grades or prices listed, please contact Barbara O’Donovan, Industrial Minerals editor bodonovan@indmin.com.

Chromite

Chemical chromite market drops over 30% on low demand

Davide Ghilotti

Pricing levels for chemical grade chromite nosedived in early May on the back of a combination of factors including low demand, high stocks and falling metallurgical prices.

Following a first downward tilt in mid-April, when an initial drop of $10-20/tonne was seen, the commodity then took a
sharp downward direction, losing over $150/tonne against earlier levels.

IM’s chemical chromite, 46% Cr2O3, wet bulk price fell by as much as $150-170/tonne to $240-280/tonne FOB South Africa, according to IM assessment on 9 May. This compares with  a previous price level of $410-430/tonne FOB South Africa in end-April.

"There is weakness on the met grade market, and this has thrown the chemical grade market off balance," a trader told IM.  

South African UG2 chrome ore index for material sold into China was calculated at $231/tonne CIF as of 5 May, according to IM sister publication Metal Bulletin, having lost over $100/tonne since the end of April.

IM’s sources, including suppliers, traders and buyers, said they were seeing UG2 priced around $200-210/tonne CIF China in the first week of May, with some quoting as low as $175/tonne CIF, leading to the lower chemical chromite prices.

"Chemical chromite follows closely the pricing trend of UG2. For this reason, chem prices kept increasing last year. Now that met prices are down, chemical is following," one supplier told IM.

Two suppliers admitted the market for chemical grade material is in a state of profound confusion: "Once the met grade price settles, prices for chem will be easier to gauge," one said.

Traditionally there is a premium of $40-50/tonne on chemical grade 46% Cr2O3 over metallurgical UG2.

Buying activity had been expected to increase over the last few weeks, but that has yet to happen to a meaningful extent, market participants said.

"Prices have dropped considerably," a South African supplier said. "It is very hard to sell now."

Commenting on a deal IM had heard in the mid-$300s done in the previous weeks, this supplier told IM on 9 May: "Even that price would be great today."

He admitted no transactions had been concluded for some weeks. He had stayed out of the market for some time, hoping that the metallurgical price would settle, and described his latest offers to customers as "shots in the dark".

High stock, low demand

Current low demand in China and rising stock levels in the country are contributing to the existing price pressure.

On the one hand, buying activity from Chinese consumers had been high right up to the end of December 2016, as importers wanted to secure enough volumes to cover the needs of their operations during the downtime of the Chinese New Year holiday period in end-January, and the rest of Q1. IM was told at the time that a number of large suppliers were sold out.

Since then, Chinese end-users have relied on existing inventories while they delayed concluding any new contracts in the hope that prices would climb down, following the five year-highs reached in 2016.

This created a standoff – as some suppliers described it to IM – which lasted until May.

In the meantime, with customers not buying for weeks and weeks, stocks of chrome materials available at Chinese ports were being replenished. By early May, the chrome inventory at ports were estimated at 1.5-2m tonnes, according to sources both inside and outside China.  

For comparison, when stocks were running low last year they had fallen well below 1m tonnes, at a time of high demand from both met and non-met markets alike. This means that the current stock levels – with demand being slow – are more than enough to cover impending needs of buyers.

IM was also told – by one supplier and one buyer – of large volumes of still unsold material currently being shifted to destination ports in China. As availability increases, this could further dampen customers’ willingness to buy: one large Chinese buyer told IM he is aiming to wait until prices fall further.

In the words of another supplier, "there is no pressure on the Chinese to buy".

Another factor is reduced demand from downstream industries in China such as leather tanning and fabric dyeing companies – both users of chemical grade chromite in their processes. The two sectors have been among the many industries affected by Beijing’s widespread clampdown on industrial pollution, and operations have been running intermittently.

Foundry market holding

As chemical chromite is falling, the market for foundry grade material remains overall more stable.

Suppliers and traders are maintaining their existing offers as demand is in better shape compared with chemical and metallurgical material.

IM was tracking foundry grade chromite, 46% Cr2O3, wet bulk, at $410-450/tonne FOB South Africa, while lower-purity foundry material, 45.8% Cr2O3, wet bulk, was last assessed at $400-440/tonne FOB South Africa.

Both grades have been unchanged since end-December 2016.

Dried and bagged foundry sand, 46% Cr2O3, which is not priced by IM, also held in the high-$400s FOB, according to suppliers. 

Sources have stressed that foundry sand prices should not be as volatile as met or chem material – hence the current stability on this front. As already reported by IM, it takes time for the foundry market to catch up with price movements in the other two – that is why the rapid appreciation of chemical chromite last year took its price to a par with, or in some cases above, that of foundry sand.

At the same time, traders have cautioned that if chemical chromite were to remain at these low levels for a prolonged period, eventually foundry prices would also move downwards to an extent.

Chromite, chemical, 46% Cr2O3, wet bulk, FOB South Africa, $/tonne 

Prices1  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


Bauxite

Massive production shutdown in China lifts bauxite prices

Yoke Wong

A near-complete shutdown of Chinese refractory-grade bauxite production lifted spot prices for the second time this year in early May, with many traders struggling to fulfil contracts following further environmental crackdowns.

The ongoing anti-pollution controls in China worsened in April, with Beijing shutting down most bauxite mines in Shanxi province, while calcining and processing plants in Shanxi and Tianjin were also impacted.

Only a minority of facilities that meet the strict environmental standards were allowed to continue production, but raw bauxite supply remained scarce due to current mining restrictions, two Chinese producers told IM.   

"Problems, problems everywhere I look. The situation in China is getting worse by the day," one European trader told IM.

"Everybody has been stopped. Nobody is producing because of the environment [team] running around. They are going from plant to plant. They will suspend production until September," he added.

It is unclear for how long such strict environmental measures will remain in place but many are anticipating the policy to be long-term, as tackling pollution has been identified as a top priority in 2017 for Beijing. 

Following a first round of controls since July 2016, many bauxite production facilities that did not meet the state required standards were shut down. 

But ahead of the 13th National Games of China, due to be held in Tianjin and Luoyang in September, authorities have ramped up efforts to clean up the local environment, market participants in China and Europe said.

The local government in Shanxi rolled out new environmental policies in early May to tackle the pollution caused by local industries, including refractory minerals production.  

China-based suppliers spoke of a wide-spread, "crazy" shutdown of facilities that did not meet the environmental requirements.

"Foreigners said it is crazy now in China. We Chinese think so too, but what can you do if the country wants to sort itself out?" one Tianjin-based supplier said.

According to one Chinese supplier, all Chinese plants (factories producing all sorts of products, including bauxite, magnesia and brown fused alumina), have to implement the following:

Firstly, all operations can only rely on gas or and electricity for energy supply, as no coal or coke is allowed. Secondly, plants have to install an external on-line system to monitor dust control, and thirdly plants must install a monitoring system for flue gas de-sulphurisation in the plants.

"If the three [parameters are not met], the plants [will be] closed until they do. This time it’s not a joke, the government is really doing it," he added.

Shanxi accounts for the majority of refractory minerals production, supplying most of calcined bauxite in the world, according to market sources.  

In early May, IM reported on the worsening output disruption in magnesia producing region in Liaoning, which was also part of Beijing’s crack down on polluting industries (see p18).

Due to the clampdown on mining and smelting industries from mid-April, bauxite supply has reduced dramatically, supporting price upticks.

All refractory-grade bauxite prices increased by $10/tonne at the start of May.

Spot prices of 85% refractory-grade bauxite (85% Al2O3/2.0/3.15-3.2/0-6mm) rose to $320-330/tonne on a FOB Xingang basis on 4 May, while 86% bauxite increased to $330-340/tonne, 87% edged up to $350-365/tonne and 88% climbed to $380-400/tonne.

Supply for higher-grade material, above 86% Al2O3 content, was even tighter, with very little trades reported as buyers were unable to source, according to three traders and one producer.   

PriceMap  

High-risk business

Furthermore, any spot business for China-origin bauxite would now require full pre-payment before delivery, and there was a high risk that suppliers could still not fulfil the contract, traders said. 

"You can’t trust them even if they tell you they have material," one European trader said.

Another European distributor and Chinese supplier agreed, saying that there was the possibility that the material delivered may not meet the agreed specifications and suppliers could fail to honour contractual agreements at the last minute.  

"[The situation] is changing by the minute. The next moment they could say they can’t deliver the stock," said one Tianjin-based supplier.

Still, many buyers run the risk of missing out on deals if they do not comply with the new cash-payment terms. One Europe-based distributor said: "They have to pay quickly. If they don’t pay quickly, the suppliers will sell to someone else."

Despite the higher prices, many are still struggling to find materials to fulfil annual contracts for 2017, while one Europe-based refractory producer was experiencing delivery delays in April, according to buyers.

The extreme shortage in bauxite supply at the end of April and into early May has been compounded by some Europe-based traders selling short - agreeing to annual contracts with their customers in end-2016 without securing supply in advance, as they believed prices will remain low due to oversupply, the Europe-based distributor said.

"The problem is all these traders were selling short (...) This is caused by lots of traders who were speculating," he said.

Refractory-grade bauxite 86%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm) FOB Xingang 
Prices2  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


Brown Fused Alumina

China’s bauxite mining issues to hit brown fused alumina

Yoke Wong

The new spate of environmental crackdowns on bauxite mining in China was set to reduce raw material supply for brown fused alumina (BFA) production in the country, market participants told IM.

Key refractory-grade bauxite producing region Shanxi announced new environmental measures on 4 May to restrict mining and smelting activities in the province, as part of the implementation of the "Soil Prevention Action Plan". Under the plan, any expansions in the non-ferrous smelting industry around residential, school, medical and retirement home areas will be prohibited.

Furthermore, there will be strict assessments on the environmental impact of a number of polluting industries, including non-ferrous metal mining and smelting, chemical, coking, electroplating, tanning, pesticides, lead-acid battery production and others. Applications for the above sectors will require evidence for the environmental impact on soil and on pollution control.

According to a number of Chinese and Europe-based suppliers, the majority of mining activities in Shanxi have stopped, while calcining and processing plants in nearby Tianjin were also impacted. Only a small number of bauxite production facilities that meet the required environmental standards were allowed to operate, two Chinese suppliers and two Europe-based distributors told IM.     

Although the reduced bauxite supply has yet to impact BFA production in early May, one Europe-based distributor warned that less raw material will affect the sector, thus supporting prices. 

Furthermore, ahead of the 13th National Games of China, due to be held in Tianjin and Luoyang, Henan in September, authorities have ramped up efforts to clean up the local environment. This will impact BFA production in Henan, suppliers in China and Europe said.

China is the biggest fused alumina producer globally, with Henan province being the main producing region. Output in the province has been intermittent since July 2016 due to the ongoing environmental inspections.      

BFA spot prices were unchanged for the past month but high-quality material from Tipping furnace was scarce, two traders said.  

Spot prices for Chinese-origin refractory grade BFA remained at $550-600/tonne on a FOB China basis, according to IM’s assessment on 4 May.

Lower-grade BFA (minimum 95% Al2O3 and maximum 1.2% silica) produced from fixed or Higgins furnace was offered at $550/tonne while the higher-grade material of 0.9% silica content produced from Tipping furnace would be more expensive, one Tianjin-based trader said.   

"Tipping furnace material is not so easy to find; it requires cash payment," the Tianjin-based trader said.

The Europe-based distributor warned: "If anybody has bought anything for less than $580/tonne since 1 April, they may not get delivery."

Alumina, fused, brown, 95.5% min Al2O3, refractory sized, FOB China, $/tonne 
Prices3  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


China Fluorspar

Chinese Acidspar spot prices hit four-year high

Albert Li 

Chinese acidspar spot prices rose to a four-year high in early May as the ongoing nationwide environmental inspections caused a severe supply shortage in the country amid better coolant demand ahead of summer.

Restricted use of dynamite for fluorspar mining has further contributed to the tight supply, several suppliers said.

Meanwhile, downstream industries such as steel and hydrofluoric acid (HF acid) are performing well, supporting prices.  

According to custom data, HF acid exports from China increased to 23,167 tonnes in March, the highest since 2016.   

Spot prices for Chinese acidspar 97% CaF2, wet filtercake rose $10/tonne week-on-week to $355-375/tonne on a FOB China basis, according to IM’s assessment on 11 May.

Domestic acidspar prices have also increased to over Chinese Renminbi (Rmb) 2,000/tonne ($289.623) ex-work basis, excluding VAT, suppliers told IM.   

Metspar min 90% CaF2 prices were unchanged since end-March at $330-350/tonne, while lower grade 85% CaF2 also held at $290-310/tonne, both on FOB China basis 11 May.   

During this period of tight supply, Chinese fluorspar producers have prioritised supply to domestic buyers who have long term relationship, rather than export orders, suppliers told IM

Acidspar spot prices have been increasing steadily since mid-February as a result of stricter anti-pollution checks and related fluorspar production shutdown in China. While metspar prices were also rising, the increases were capped in mid-March as the minerals’ value peaked, suppliers told IM.            

At least two Chinese suppliers expect the price uptrend in acidspar to continue in the short-term amid the ongoing environmental inspection.  

Market participants outside of China, meanwhile, warned against the interpretation of higher prices as being due to a meaningful recovery in demand (see p45).

Acidspar, 97% CaF2, Wet Filtercake, FOB, China, $/tonne 
Prices4  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


Fluorspar

Market urges caution amid rapid China fluorspar price jump

Yoke Wong

Fluorspar producers and consumers are urging caution in the market amid rapid price increases in China over the past few months as uncertainty persists around the global supply, demand balance.

China, which accounts for about 50% of global fluorspar supply, has been facing supply disruptions since late February as Beijing imposed strict anti-pollution control on mining activities. The supply tightness was further compounded by the fact that the environmental restrictions came at a time of lower seasonal output levels due to traditional winter production cuts.

The reduced output combined with an uptick in demand for refrigerant in Spring has lifted China-origin acidspar prices in the past few months. 

However that increase in demand is seasonal, market participants said, pointing to the fact that consumption for refrigerant traditionally increases in Spring due to higher air-conditioning products sales ahead of the warmer summer season. 

Industrial Mineral’s acidspar min. 97% CAF2, wet filtercake prices hit a four-year high at $355-375/tonne on a FOB China basis 11 May.

Prior to February 2017, fluorspar prices hovered around five-year lows while supply far outstripped demand. 

Fluorspar prices outside of China have remained largely stable as most consumers remained well-covered by their long-term contracts, which concluded end of last year. Despite the recent Chinese price increase, suppliers in the rest of the world have not raised their prices in order to compete for market share.  

In Europe, the acidspar markets has also been stable since end-July 2016 as the region was largely covered by long-term contract.

Acidspar min.97% CaF2 prices held at $250-270/tonne on a CIF Rotterdam basis 11 May, unchanged since July 2016.

In the US, acidspar 97% CaF2, dry filtercake prices were at $260-270/tonne on a CIF US Gulf port 11 May with the market relatively unchanged since July 2016, according to IM data.

Supply/demand uncertainty

Suppliers and consumers outside of China reported that there has been no major improvement in demand and that supply generally continues to outstrip consumption.

While global refrigerant demand has increased ahead of summer as anticipated, the overall consumption volumes remains within expectations, one supplier and three consumers told IM.

"At the moment, we don’t see the demand increasing, it’s just lots of HF plants having to shut down," said one refrigerant consumer in Asia.

As part of Beijing’s anti-pollution crackdown, many Chinese hydrofluoric acid (HF acid) plants which did not meet strict environmental standards have been shut down. This enforcement of that policy is expected to continue for the foreseeable future too, as Beijing has made cleaning up the environment a national priority.     

China is one of the largest suppliers of HF acid globally and production cuts has also pushed global refrigerants prices up.

Market participants outside of China remain wary, however, that the trend is only limited to the region and that there could be a change a policy given how suddenly it was enforced in the first place.

"It is too early in the year to ascertain, in Europe it is still covered by long-term contract. What’s happening in China is very much in China," said one producer.

"It’s a big, big jump only in China, we don’t see it anywhere else," he added.  

Consumers have also warned that China-origin fluorspar prices could fall when the high season for refrigerant ends in summer. 

Furthermore, amid the ongoing environmental-related output disruption in China, new production capacity is expected to come on-stream in Canada later in the year. As a result, the global supply and demand balance remains uncertain.

Canada Fluorspar confirmed to IM in March that it is on schedule to start operation in Q4 and plans to produce 200,000 tpa of acid-grade concentrate.   

"The market is very unstable, I don’t know what China will do, I don’t know if Canada will produce at full capacity. Fluorspar market is very small, it’s very sensitive," the producer said.  

Amid new production capacity coming on-stream in Q4, there were also talks of Kenya Fluorspar potentially restarting operation after being shut for more than a year, a number of consumers and market sources told IM. However, a market source close to the matter emphasised that restarting of operations in Kenya would largely depend on market conditions in Q4. 

Acidspar, 97% CaF2, Wet Filtercake, CIF, Rotterdam, Holland, $/tonne 
Prices5  
Source: Industrial Minerals 



Pricing notice: Proposed changes to brown fused alumina prices

IM proposes to change the below specifications of brown fused alumina (BFA) on a FOB China basis, with effect from 29 June.   

• Alumina, fused brown, 95.5% min Al2O3, refractory sized, FOB China, $/tonne

With effect from 29 June, the BFA specifications will be changed to:

• Alumina, fused brown, 95% min Al2O3, refractory sized (0-6mm), FOB China, $/tonne  

IM also proposing to delist the following grades with effect from
29 June:  

• Alumina, fused, 94% Al2O3 CIF, FEPA grits, acid washed, Chinese, $/tonne

• Alumina, fused brown, 94% Al2O3, FEPA 8-220 mesh refractory (mm), FOB China, $/tonne

• Alumina, refractory, brown, Al2O3 95.5% min/ SiO2 1.20 max/ Fe2O3 0.30 max/ magnetics 0.10 max, lumps 0-14/ 0-30mm, FOB China, $/tonne

The above prices are assessed every two weeks. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Industrial Minerals’ head of market reporting Yoke Wong at yoke.wong@indmin.com.

Rutile

Rutile prices rise in China as ilmenite market pauses

Cameron Perks

Spot market prices for rutile, a key raw material in titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment production, have risen substantially amid strong demand in May.

Industrial Mineral’s prices of rutile concentrate min 95% TiO2 bulk CIF China rose to a range of $800-890/tonne 11 May from $700-840/tonne previously.

While bids as high at $890 were reported in the market, the majority of business reported during IM’s 11 May price assessment was traded around $840/tonne.

According to one trader it was no longer possible to find rutile trading hands under $800/tonne in China.

Rutile producers were increasing their prices in light of the substantial increases announced by TiO2 producers over the past year, a titanium dioxide buyer told IM.

TiO2 producers in China continue to announce price hikes, while producers outside of China have in recent weeks reported higher revenues as their own wave of price increases begin to make a meaningful impact on the bottom line.

Rutile has now taken the lime-light from ilmenite, which has experienced a steady rise in market prices in recent months. Producers in Panzhihua Province, China have reportedly announced a local price decrease of around Chinese Renminbi (RMB) 100-150/tonne ($14.5- 21.7/tonne*), taking the steam out of the market.

Industry sources told IM that the price decrease announcement comes amid ilmenite stockpiling by Chinese pigment producers who now have feedstock that could last "for several months".

Rutile concentrate min 95% TiO2 bulk CIF China $/tonne 
Prices6  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


Silicon Carbide

Chinese supply decline could destabilise European silicon carbide market

Martim Facada 

European suppliers of silicon carbide have seen an uptick in inquiries in 2017 due to lower availability of Chinese material.

Nonetheless, silicon carbide prices in Europe have remained relatively steady in recent months, within a price range of €1,800 to €2,100/tonne DDP Europe for FEPA 8-220 Green min 99.5% SiC material.

However, a producer told IM that the European market might see a slight increase in prices in the near term. 

"We have had a stable market almost since last summer, however, less availability of Chinese material in Europe due to the constant environmental controls in China has increased material inquiries if compared to the past year at this point," the producer said. 

"A slight increase in prices might happen soon as a consequence of this strong demand," he added.

Acid wash and water wash silicon carbide FEPA 8-220 Black min 99% SiC prices were also stable at €1,400-1,500/t DDP Europe and €1,100-1,300/t DDP Europe, respectively, according to buyers and sellers.

"The market has been quite stable over the past months however we anticipate higher prices within the following weeks mainly due to the output reduction in China," another producer said. 

Refractory grade silicon carbide market participants shared the same sentiment with prices reported to IM at €850-1050/t DDP Europe for min 95% SiC material and €1,050-1,250/t DDP Europe for 98% SiC material, both unchanged since last summer.

Falling Chinese exports 

Silicon carbide exports decreased to 22,175 tonnes in February 2017, according to China customs data. Exported volume in February was nearly 35% lower than in November 2016 when shipments hit a high of 33,952 tonnes. Between November 2016 – February 2017, the average value per tonne of material exported was relatively stable between $787.23/tonne and $873.20/tonne. 

The reduction in Chinese silicon carbide exports was due to heightened environmental controls in the country over the past four months. In a bid to improve air quality and move away from older, more polluting production facilities, the Chinese government has taken a tougher stance on offending manufacturers across a multitude of minerals.

Though European consumers and suppliers have yet to see any change in prices, several told IM that should the Chinese production and export levels continue to stay down, it might raise European market prices within Q2.

Chinese Silicon Carbide Exports Feb 2016-Feb 2017 
Prices7  
Source: Industrial Minerals


Titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide prices break recent highs

William Clarke 

Titanium dioxide prices in Europe hit three-year highs in early May, with spot cargoes hard to come by.

Supply in Europe was understood to be extremely tight although it was uncertain whether all material purchased were being consumed immediately or some were bought in order to build inventories, which have been depleted in recent years.

Industrial Minerals’ spot price for pigment-grade titanium dioxide in Northern Europe rose to €2,765-3,190/tonne 11 May up from €2,150-2,575/tonne previously.

A European buyer said prices were "going up big time" into the third quarter, noting that large cargoes were hard to come by.

Lead times for material were understood to have stretched out to between 60 and 90 days.

"You can’t call up today and get a shipment tomorrow which you could do 2 years ago," a consumer told IM.

Major producer The Chemours Co was experiencing a backlog in its TiO2 supply to Europe after declaring force majeure on a shipment in April.

Spot markets in Asia were also increasing, with spot prices for bulk volume TiO2 pigment rising to a two-year high of $2,720-3,100/tonne 11 May, basis CFR Asia.

"There is no doubt prices will keep rising," a Chinese producer said, a sentiment echoed by a buyer operating in China.

TiO2 producers in China continue to announce price hikes while producers outside China have in recent weeks reported higher revenues as their own wave of price increases begin to make a meaningful impact on the bottom line.

How much capacity?

One European distributor suggested that the tightness was somewhat artificial as not all facilities are operating at full capacity, after a long period of inventory draw-down.

"I believe there’s enough capacity in the world for there not to be a shortage," the distributor said, suggesting that some facilities were still only operating at half capacity.

But the Chinese producer noted that capacity would be lost in
coming months, due to the con-tinued environmental crackdown in China, with no new capacity likely to come on-line in the near future.

Titanium dioxide pigment, bulk volume, CIF Northern Europe, €/tonne 
Prices8  
Source: Industrial Minerals 


Antimony Trioxide

Environmental constraints push up antimony trioxide prices in China

Martim Facada

Constant environmental controls across the main Chinese antimony provincial hubs of Hunan and Guangxi have led prices upwards in China in early May. 

Chinese authorities have cracked down on producers that fail inspections including Chinese Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star. The major producer was fined and its workers arrested after inspectors found the producer was illegally discharging pollutants, as reported by IM’s sister publication Metal Bulletin.

Local authorities were firmly committed to enforcing environmental controls seen in China over the past eight months, market participants told IM.

IM’s antimony trioxide rose to $7,950-8,050/tonne FOB China on 9 May, up $50/tonne compared to the previous month, according to IM’s price assessment.

An Asian trader confirmed new higher market values reached in the past days explaining that the main reason behind the higher prices in China was still the "environmental issues".

Although the Chinese market reached higher values in early May, the European and American markets remained unchanged amid low levels of demand, traders and suppliers said. 

European suppliers and consumers told IM that antimony trioxide 99.5% Sb2O3 prices have not changed since 2 May despite higher offers from the Chinese market.

The antimony trioxide 99.5% Sb2O3 European market held at $8,000-8,100/tonne CIF Antwerp/Rotterdam 9 May, while the domestic market traded between €7.65-7.70/kg in warehouse Antwerp/Rotterdam for 20 tonnes lots. Lower volume between 5-10 tonnes reached values as high as €7.90/kg in warehouse Antwerp/Rotterdam. 

In the US market antimony trioxide 99.5% Sb2O3 prices remained stable between $8,000-8,200/tonne CIF East Coast. 

North American trades were concluded between $3.70-3.75/lb in warehouse Baltimore for lots of 20 tonnes.

Several suppliers and consumers told IM that they expected higher prices for material going forward, due to the higher replacement costs on the back of the situation in China.

"Not only Hsikwangshan Twinkling Star but every producer in China is currently under constant inspections subjected to fines and other enforcement measures," a North American trader involved with the Chinese market told IM.

"In China producers have been forced to adapt their production facilities accordingly in order to reduce pollution emissions since the local authorities seem to be seriously aiming at reducing pollution within the main industrial areas in China," the trader added.

Environmental constraints within the Chinese market – which accounts for 80% of world production – have been pushing up the global prices since last summer due to the Chinese government’s commitment to reducing pollution within the country.

Antimony trioxide, typically 99.5% Sb2O3, 20 tonne lots FOB China, $/tonne 
Prices9  
Source: Industrial Minerals