China slashes chromite imports by one-third in April
Published: Friday, 07 July 2017
Latest statistics point to a rapid worsening of demand for chromite in China which, against a record month for imports in January, has now halved its monthly imports.
Chinese imports of chromite recorded an abrupt slowdown in
April, when shipments of the material entering the country
fell by almost one-third on slow buying patterns.
China Customs data released in June shows total chromite
imports (across all grades, including metallurgical and
non-met) stood at a mere 724,412 tonnes in April, marking a
28% drop against the previous month, when just over 1.01m
tonnes were shipped.
Compared with January, when chromite trade into China stood
at a record-high 1.53m tonnes, the April trade has halved, with
a decline of 53%.
The downtrend in imports confirms the widespread scenario of
slow demand on the part of Chinese importers
IM has been reporting since the start of this
South African sellers tried, at first, to uphold the higher
price levels they had managed to secure in 2016, but persistent
lack of demand forced prices of metallurgical and chemical
grade material to steer downwards.Following a rapid
appreciation of chemical chromite prices, which reached a
five-year high in December last year, the early months of 2017
were characterised by an evident slowdown in enquiries reaching
suppliers and in trade flows.
Industrial Minerals’ chemical chromite,
46% Cr2O3, wet bulk price fell by as much
as $150-170/tonne at the start of May to $240-280/tonne FOB
Chinese statistics appear to confirm the decline in demand:
following the January peak, imports have steadily decreased in
each of the subsequent months until now.
Imports value has declined in conjunction with the reduced
volumes. Total imports value in April, at $247.92m, was 28%
down on March, and 45% down against January.
On a year-on-year basis, every month of 2017 to date shows an
increase in both volume and value terms, compared with the
weak market conditions the industry was facing at the same
time last year.