Weak demand weighs on Chinese magnesia
The prices for all grades of China-origin magnesia
assessed by Industrial Minerals remained unchanged at the
beginning of March in response to limited buying
Overseas consumers had no immediate need to purchase and
were waiting for clarity in the market, although high-grade
magnesia products remained in tight supply because of a
lack of high-quality raw materials.
Industrial Minerals’ assessments of the
prices for dead-burned magnesia (DBM) products remained
The fob China price of DBM 90% MgO lump was $240-280 per
tonne on Tuesday March 13, while 92% MgO material was
priced $280-300 per tonne, both unchanged from the previous
Mid-grade magnesia 94-95% MgO prices were stable at
$680-700 per tonne fob China while the price of 97.5% MgO
material remained at $1,100-1,400 per tonne fob China.
"Supply of high-purity magnesia 97.5% MgO remained
tight, and only a few producers can produce materials which
guarantee the content of MgO reaching 97-97.5% because the
government still exerts strict control on [the use of]
explosives [in mining]. But trading activity remains slow
this week," a Dalian trader told Industrial Minerals.
"We have stopped signing long-term contracts with
overseas buyers because of a lack of sufficient magnesia
stocks, and negotiate prices with buyers according to each
order currently," a producer in Haicheng said.
"One magnesia company in Haicheng had an accident with a
gas poisoning, and most Haicheng magnesia producers have
halted production for safety inspections," he added. "But
this accident will have a limited effect on magnesia prices
because of current weak demand from downstream
The markets for fused magnesia (FM) and caustic calcined
magnesia (CCM) were flat the week of March 13, with prices
unchanged. Overseas buyers were in no hurry to buy and
submitted lower bids in an attempt to push prices
The spot price of FM 97% MgO (Ca:Si 1:1) remained at
$1,150-1,250 per tonne fob China on March 13, while the
price of 97% MgO (Ca:Si 2:1) was stable at $1,250-1,400 per
"I received a bid at $1,100-1,150 per tonne for FM 97%
MgO (Ca:Si 2:1) from an overseas customer this week, which
was too low to accept because current prices are above
$1,250 per tonne on the spot market," a trader in Dalian
told Industrial Minerals.
The fob China prices for CCM materials held steady at
$205-230 per tonne for 90-92% MgO, $240-260 per tonne for
94% MgO, and $335-355 per tonne for 96% MgO.
"Because of the lack of high-quality magnesite, we do
not have high-grade CCM 94% and 96% [available for sale]
now," a trader in Dalian said. "CCM 90-92% MgO prices were
stable, but demand hasn’t picked up."
|Magnesia, calcined, 90-92% MgO, FOB
|Source: Industrial Minerals
Chinese flake graphite prices stable on slow
Flake graphite prices in China have been stable
recently, with downstream buyers showing no interest in
stocking materials because the first quarter of the year is
usually the slack season.
"Prices haven’t fluctuated and are
unchanged. Overseas buyers usually start to purchase from
the second quarter of each year, and I expect there to be
more deals next month," one producer in Qingdao told
"I have heard there will be another round of
environmental inspections in Shandong, and some companies
will start the project of changing [their] fuel [source]
from coal, which might tighten supply and push prices
higher at a later date, but there is no precise news at the
moment," he added.
According to Industrial Minerals’ price
assessment on Thursday March 15, prices for flake graphite,
94-97% C, +100 mesh, on an fob China basis, were stable at
$800-940 per tonne, in line with stable Chinese domestic
prices. The price for +80 mesh material of the same carbon
content was $1,050-1,210 per tonne, also unchanged from the
The prices of other grades, including 85-87% C +100 mesh
and 90% C -100 mesh, remained unchanged at $590-620 per
tonne and $600-650 per tonne fob China, respectively.
The price of flake graphite, 94-97% C, -100 mesh, was
assessed at $655-790 per tonne.
"The flake graphite market is quiet, with prices stable
because of the limited orders from buyers. While some
suppliers with positive outlooks are keeping their offers
firm for spherical graphite in the domestic market, at
17,000-20,000 yuan [$2,686-3,160] per tonne, buyers are not
active in purchasing at the moment, and we
haven’t started to adjust our export prices on
thin buying activity," another producer in Qingdao
Industrial Minerals’ assessment of the
price for spherical graphite, 99.95% C, 15 microns, was
steady at $2,250-2,700 per tonne fob China on March 15.
Zircon buyers mull substitution amid Q2 price
Zircon prices are likely to rise in the second quarter
of 2018, traders, suppliers and end-users have
Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) has informed customers that it
is raising its price for zircon to $1,500 per tonne from
$1,200 per tonne previously, effective from April 1,
multiple market participants have told Industrial
RBM, which has not publicly announced the rise, declined
to comment when contacted by Industrial Minerals.
This comes after Iluka said that its zircon reference price
will rise to $1,410 per tonne for the six months beginning
on April 1. Its reference price had been $1,230 per tonne
since October 1 last year.
In effect, Iluka’s prices will range from
$1,410 to $1,480 per tonne from the start of next month,
sources said. There is generally no discount for larger
volumes, they added.
While negotiations by companies that have yet to
announce their second-quarter prices will continue until
the end of March, market participants predicted that zircon
prices from all producers will range from $1,410 to $1,600
per tonne, depending on the producer and the country of
Industrial Minerals assessed prices of zircon, premium
grade, min 66.5% ZrO2, bulk, cif China at $1,350-1,450 per
tonne on Thursday March 8, unchanged week on week but up
from $1,200-1,320 per tonne in December.
Market observers and participants attributed the price
rise largely to reduced supply - but both high prices and a
lack of available material raise the risk of zircon being
substituted by another material.
End-users in the refractories and ceramics markets may
switch to alumina to secure supply at a lower cost, for
example. Alumina is cheaper, its price is more stable and
supply is easier to secure.
The price of alumina, calcined, ground 98.5-99.5% Al2O3,
bulk, ex-works US/Europe, long-term contract, is $830-930
per tonne, for example.
"Some companies are thinking of substitutes" and, while
the end-of-year price picture is uncertain, substitution of
zircon would "not be good for the sector" because it would
be an irreversible change, an end-user in Europe said.
The threat of substitution is greater in zirconia rather
than in zircon or zirconium, "considering its price [which
is two to three times the price of the raw material] and
the high degree of competition," another zircon processor
in Europe said. "Any substitution of zircon with alumina
threatens to be a permanent change."
Global supply of zircon is unlikely to increase until
2020 or 2021 unless Indonesian miners boost their
production, one market participant told Industrial
Substitution was evident in 2011-12 when prices rose to
Premium-grade zircon prices were higher than $1,500 per
tonne during that period, with Iluka Resources reportedly
selling material for more than $2,000 per tonne before
dropping its price to $1,885 per tonne in October 2011 and
Rio Tinto offering premium-grade zircon in a range of
$1,800-2,000 per tonne.
Prices tumbled from this peak when consumption fell in
the ceramics and foundries end-markets - users turned to
alternative materials such as alumina at that time. In many
cases, zircon consumers were unable to pass on increased
costs, particularly in the ceramics market.
"Miners must be conservative on [price] increases," the
|Zircon, premium grade, min 66.5% ZrO2,
bulk, CIF China, $/tonne
|Source: Industrial Minerals
Kenmare expects to see zircon prices increasing
Mineral sands miner Kenmare has reported record mineral
sand production in 2017 and has forecast rising prices for
ilmenite and zircon this year.
On March 4, the Ireland-based miner reported that its
2017 ilmenite production had gone up by 11% year-on-year to
998,200 tonnes, while zircon production increased by 9% to
The company reported revenues for Kenmare Resources of
$208 million for 2017, up by 47% year-on-year, on the rise
in prices for mineral sands.
"Global markets for our products improved strongly in
2017, continuing the market recovery experienced in 2016,"
Kenmare said. "Inventories of titanium feedstocks and
zircon, which had been high for several years, declined
below normal operating levels during 2017, supporting
long-awaited product price increases."
Industrial Minerals assessed the price of zircon,
premium grade, min 66.5% ZrO2, bulk, cif China at
$1,350-1,450 per tonne on January 4 this year, compared
with $1,030-1,100 per tonne a year earlier. The assessment
on March 8 showed that the price has not changed since
"Ilmenite prices continued to rise through 2017, albeit
at a slower rate in the second half of the year, as
low-grade concentrates were introduced into the market and
Chinese environmental inspections caused disruption,"
Kenmare managing director Michael Carvill said.
"Received prices are expected to average at higher
levels in 2018, supported by continued demand growth and a
reduction [in the amount] of low-quality ilmenite supplied
from stockpiles," he added.
He was even more bullish on zircon prices. "The zircon
market remains tightly supplied, with strong price
increases throughout 2017 and significant further rises
already in 2018," he said.
"Zircon prices remain far below the peaks achieved in
2012," Carvill noted, although he added that "tight supply
conditions are expected to continue and may lead to some
thrifting and substitution."
Prices rise further in chemical, foundry grade
Chromite prices have moved up further at the beginning
of March with limited availability continuing to put
pressure on supplies of both chemical- and foundry-grade
material, while premiums are rising in some cases.
Demand for foundry sand remains high across the board,
with major markets in western countries as well as Asia
showing continued willingness to source material, market
participants have told Industrial Minerals.
This is exacerbating the limited availability of foundry
material, after a number of operations closed in 2015-16
when market prices were low.
"Prices have recovered since that long period of
weakness two-three years ago, but demand has surged. This
is why you see prices ticking over on the spot market so
much. Now, it’s evident that the market is
undersupplied," one distributor said.
The highest price pressure is being seen in dried and
bagged material, which is the most common form of chromite
used by refractories and foundry consumers. This is, again,
essentially related to strong demand from various
destinations, including Europe, North America, Southeast
Asia and China.
As a consequence, the price of wet bulk foundry-grade
chromite is also edging upward, albeit at an overall slower
The price of foundry-grade chromite, 46% Cr2O3, wet
bulk, increased to $480-500 per tonne fob South Africa,
from $450-470 per tonne, according to Industrial
Minerals’ price assessment on March 6.
Dried and bagged material, which normally commands a $50
premium over wet bulk, was reported to be selling at $550
per tonne and, in some cases, as much as $600 per tonne fob
Changes were also seen in the prices for
refractory-grade and lower-purity foundry material.
The price of refractory-grade chromite, 46% Cr2O3, wet
bulk, was $470-500 per tonne fob South Africa, compared
with $440-470 per tonne previously.
And the price of foundry-grade chromite, 45.8% Cr2O3,
wet bulk, was $470-490 per tonne fob South Africa, against
$440-460 per tonne previously.
The chemical chromite market is meanwhile showing a wider
price spread than usual, on diverging drivers between
contracting activity in China, which is the single
largest buyer, and western markets.
Suppliers in conversation with Industrial Minerals noted
that western markets were accepting higher prices compared
with China, where local buyers were still bidding much
This has pushed prices upward in Europe and other western
markets, while Chinese prices have lagged.
The price of chemical-grade chromite, 46% Cr2O3, wet
bulk, was assessed at $285-340 per tonne fob South Africa,
marking a wider overall range compared with a previous
level of $270-300 per tonne.
Industrial Minerals is aware of a number of deals for
mid-sized parcels being made in western markets at the high
end of the price range. At the same time, activity in China
remains consistently at prices below the $300-per-tonne
"Chinese customers are very aggressive right now; they
just won’t give in to higher quotes," one
In some cases, premiums between metallurgical UG2 chrome
ore and chemical grade were reported to be increasing
against historical averages.
The Metal Bulletin index price for South African UG2 was
$241 per tonne cif China on March 2.
While the average premium for chemical grade over
metallurgical would be $40-50 per tonne, in some cases this
has increased to anywhere in the range of $80-100 per
"You can see that, for LG chemical material, where
supply is tight compared with UG2 chemical, premiums are
much higher than they used to be," a supplier said. "We
expect that to continue because of constrained supply."
|Chromite, chemical, 46% Cr2O3, wet bulk,
fob South Africa,
$ per tonne
|Source: Industrial Minerals
Chinese TiO2 producers cite yuan appreciation as
they push for price rises
Titanium dioxide producers in China are attempting to
raise prices after coming back from the lunar new year
holiday, citing a shifting exchange rate.
TiO2 prices are denominated in dollars, but the
strengthening yuan is decreasing local-currency receipts
At the time of publication, the yuan was trading at 6.31
yuan to $1, down by about 8% year-on-year.
"They’re saying that due to the [yuan
appreciation] they can make more money selling
domestically," one European trader told Industrial
Minerals. "After Lomon [Billions] increased prices, every
seller tried to follow suit."
Despite agreement that higher prices were being sought,
buyers reported that they had not been seen in deals so
"We haven’t bought at the higher prices
yet," a European buyer told Industrial Minerals. "But
they’re definitely going to keep trying to
push prices up."
On March 1, Industrial Minerals assessed the price of
titanium dioxide pigment, high quality, bulk volume, cfr
Asia, unchanged week-on-week at $2,700-3,100 per tonne.
|Titanium dioxide pigment, high quality,
bulk volume, CFR Asia,
|Source: Industrial Minerals
High-grade DBM prices leap on lack of raw
Chinese prices for high-grade dead burned magnesia (DBM)
edged up after the lunar new year holiday due to tight
supply of high-quality magnesite ore while low-grade DBM
prices drifted lower amid sporadic buying.
Following a series of state-mandated mining limitations
in magnesia-producing areas across China, such as Liaoning
and Heilongjiang, local producers continued to face
challenges in securing sufficient raw magnesite ore for
Spot prices reflected those challenges, with low
availability pushing Industrial Minerals’
high-grade DBM prices up by as much as $300-500 per tonne.
Still, weaker demand pressured low-grade prices lower.
The price of DBM 97.5% MgO lump increased to
$1,100-1,400 per tonne fob China on March 9 from $630-740
per tonne a week earlier, while 94-95% MgO material rose to
$680-700 per tonne fob China from $385-470 per tonne.
Strict controls on magnesite, the raw material in the
production of magnesia, are directly affecting
plants’ ability to produce sufficient
high-grade DBM, producers told Industrial Minerals.
"The government has maintained strict control over
exploring magnesite this year and producers remain unable
to use explosives to get high-quality raw materials," a
producer in Haicheng said.
No dynamite blasting or pneumatic drilling is permitted
at a large number of mines in Liaoning, a second source
Still, soft demand for low-grade DBM caused prices of
90% and 92% material to fall.
The price of DBM 90% MgO fell to $240-280 per tonne fob
China on March 9 from $330-350 a week earlier, and 92% MgO
fell to $280-300 from $350-390 per tonne.
Fused magnesia (FM) prices also fell in China amid thin
buying. The spot price of FM 97% MgO (Ca:Si 1:1) dropped to
$1,150-1,250 per tonne fob China on Tuesday from
$1,400-1,600 per tonne on February 27, and 97% MgO (Ca:Si
2:1) fell to $1,250-1,400 per tonne from $1,600-1,800 per
Caustic calcined magnesia (CCM) prices remained stable:
the 94% MgO fob China price held at $240-260 per tonne,
90-92% MgO at $205-230 per tonne and 96% MgO at $335-355
"China’s CCM market is quiet, with limited
new deals concluded after the holiday. International
consumers have started to seek magnesia suppliers outside
of China since Chinese magnesia prices surged due to strict
environment inspections last year. I heard buyers purchased
large volumes of CCM from producers in Brazil last year," a
trader in Dalian said.
In the European market, prices remained firm while
non-Chinese producers continue to report high demand both
from ordinary customers and from those buyers which
switched sourcing after failing to secure supply from
Several producers outside China claimed to have
contracted almost all of their material for the first and
second quarters of this year, leaving only small volumes
for spot trading.
Industrial Minerals assessed the price of European CCM,
agricultural grade, at €250-350 ($309-433) per tonne
cif Europe, unchanged from February 27, and the high-grade
FM price at $1,500-1,700 per tonne fob Europe was also
unchanged. The price of raw magnesite remained at
€65-80 per tonne fob East Mediterranean.
Lithium prices rise in China after new year
Chinese lithium producers pushed prices higher this week
on expectations of rising demand from the new energy
vehicles (NEVs) sector, and some lithium-ion battery
cathode material producers have started to replenish
stockpiles on an as-needed basis after the lunar new year
The spot price for battery-grade lithium carbonate (min
99.5% Li2CO3) increased to 150,000-160,000 yuan
($23,771-25,356) per tonne* on March 8, from
145,000-155,000 yuan per tonne a week earlier, according to
Ind-ustrial Minerals’ market assessment.
"The Chinese domestic battery-grade lithium carbonate
spot market has gone up, with suppliers expecting more
sales post-holiday. I think prices will stay at this higher
level for a while. We plan to increase our offer price to
165,000 yuan per tonne later," a lithium producer told
Meanwhile, prices of technical and industrial grade
lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide monohydrate have
held steady this week on thin buying activity. The spot
price for lithium carbonate (min 99% Li2CO3), technical and
industrial grades, ex-works China, was stable at
145,000-150,000 yuan per tonne on March 8.
The price of technical and industrial grades of lithium
hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) remained at
140,000-145,000 yuan per tonne, while the price of lithium
hydroxide monohydrate battery-grade material was unchanged
at 148,000-153,000 yuan per tonne on March 8.
The spot prices for seaborne China, Japan and South
Korea lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and hydroxide monohydrate
(LiOH.H2O) stayed flat, with overseas buyers showing no
interest in restocking.
The spot price for lithium carbonate (min 99% Li2CO3),
technical and industrial grade, cif China, Japan and South
Korea, remained at $17.50-19.50 per kg, according to
Industrial Minerals’ market assessment on
March 8. The spot price for lithium carbonate (min 99.5%
Li2CO3) battery grade cif China, Japan and South Korea, was
similarly stable at $19.00-21.00 per kg.
The seaborne lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LiOH.H2O)
market remained quiet, with buyers still negotiating prices
with suppliers. The prices for technical and industrial
grades of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5%
LiOH.H2O) were unchanged at $19-21 per kg while the price
for the battery grade* was $19-22 per kg, both on a cif
China, Japan and South Korea basis on March 8.
Lithium carbonate min 99.5% Li2CO3
battery grade, spot price,
ex-works domestic China, yuan/tonne
|Source: Industrial Minerals
Persisting market tightness leads to higher
andalusite prices in 2018
The andalusite market is set to experience further
tightness in 2018 with high consumer demand said to be
exceeding available supply, driving contract prices for the
Limited availability is expected to persist throughout
2018, following a shortage that became apparent last year,
when production issues resulted in lower output in major
As a consequence of that, and of continuing high levels
of activity in the refractory raw materials space, almost
all market participants active in andalusite which were
canvassed by Industrial Minerals claimed that current
demand will not be covered with available supplies this
"I am fully booked, and I imagine others will be as
well," one supplier said.
He added that some quantities produced this year may be
needed to cover any outstanding volumes from last
year’s contracts. His expectation was to run
at full capacity throughout most of this year.
"There are no free volumes out there for the taking.
Large buyers made sure they contracted early on, and even
small buyers should have all agreed their supplies," a
A second trader added: "If you need material now,
you’re not in a great position. It
doesn’t matter if you pay more, there just
isn’t enough material around at this
The second trader added that he kept receiving inquiries
from new customers, but he was unable to meet their
Driving demand for the mineral was an improved
performance in the refractories end markets, due to rising
steel output, and a widespread shortage affecting several
other refractory raw materials, such as bauxite and
Andalusite can be used as an alternative to calcined
bauxite for some refractory applications. With Chinese
bauxite output being slashed last year following
government-led inspections and shutdowns, some consumers
tried to move toward andalusite in search of volumes and
better pricing conditions.
This brought about a peak in demand in the andalusite
space - a market that is much smaller and more stable
than that for bauxite. Market participants claim that it
will take some time before the supply/demand situation
returns to normal.
Shorter contracts, higher prices
While andalusite is normally contracted with long-term,
annual agreements, in a number of cases this year contracts
were shortened to six months. In other deals, volumes were
agreed for the year although the price was fixed only for
the first six months - leaving the possibility of reviewing
the price for the second half of the year.
Some large buyers reported that they managed to set
year-long contracts for both volume and price.
"All factors were there to drive prices upward this
year, although we should bear in mind that any movement in
andalusite is going to remain quite moderate," a second
supplier said. "You are not going to see a surge similar to
what we saw in [refractory grade] magnesia."
At the time of the UniteCR conference in Chile last
September, sources in contact with Industrial Minerals were
already suggesting price growth was in the offing once
contracts came up for renewal.
Industrial Minerals assessed the price of andalusite,
min. 57% Al2O3, at €260-320 ($322-396) per tonne fob
South Africa for 2018 contracts, compared with
€240-290 per tonne last year.
While on the delivered Europe market, new contract
prices for andalusite, min. 57% Al2O3, increased to
€390-430 per tonne cif Europe, from €355-425 per
tonne a year ago.
Both market prices have shown a rise of about 10% from
previous levels, which is in line with earlier forecasts
from market participants, who pointed to an appreciation
ranging from a low of 5% - for those buying particularly
large quantities or managing to secure preferential
conditions - to a high end of 15% for smaller purchasers or
"Your 2018 price would also depend on what kind of price
you had last year. If your 2017 price was on the low end of
the range, the increase may be higher. If it was on the
high end [of the price range], the increase would be
small," a third trader source said.
A third supplier added: "All my selling prices have gone
up this year - by different amounts, of course."
Some market sources suggested that currency volatility
may also have an effect on market prices,
considering that the US dollar is going through a
particularly weak phase and the South African rand has
appreciated strongly in recent weeks.
But the timing and length of contractual patterns do not
support this view, because all contracts set during the
final quarter of last year and the early stages of this
quarter would have locked in a price level for either six
or 12 months ahead, thus excluding any currency exchange
effect for the time being.
If any deals were to be updated in the second half,
currency effects may be factored in at that point.
PRICING NOTICE: Extension of consultation period
for proposal to discontinue celestite
During the initial consultation period, which ended
Wednesday February 28, Industrial Minerals received
feedback from the market that indicates the need for
further engagement on the proposal regarding the
discontinuation of the following prices:
- Celestite, Turkish, 96%, SrSO4, fob Iskenderun,
The extended consultation period will end one month from
the date of this pricing notice, on April 13.
To provide feedback on this price or if you would like to
provide price information by becoming a data submitter,
please contact Industrial Minerals by email at:
email@example.com. Please add the subject heading re:
Please note Industrial Minerals reserves the right to
refine these prices if sufficient market demand warrants
To see all Industrial Minerals’ pricing
methodology and specification documents go to
Chinese spherical graphite exports at seven-year
high on surging EV demand
Chinese exports of spherical graphite (SG) reached a
seven-year high in 2017 and demand has continued to rise
into this year, with a surge in January consignments, the
latest customs data shows.
Exports of spherical graphite, including uncoated and
coated material, rose last year to 40,871 tonnes, up by 25%
over the previous year.
The 2017 total was also the highest since at least 2011,
when Industrial Minerals’ records begin.
The increase followed rapid growth in battery
end-markets, which reflected ambitious targets for
production and sales of electric vehicles (EVs) among
major carmakers in leading markets including China and
China will produce more than 1 million new EVs
domestically in 2018, further supporting demand for raw
materials such as lithium, cobalt and graphite.
The uptrend in SG trading continued into early 2018.
Exports of SG in January this year surged to 5,238 tonnes,
with a value of $15.77 million. This was up year-on-year by
92% in volume terms and by 71% in value.
In value terms, however, the performance was mixed.
While the total value in 2017 of $126.55 million was 3%
higher than the $122.16 million of the previous year, the
rate of growth essentially reflected the higher export
But the average unit value of the material declined. The
average unit price was $3,096 per tonne, according to
figures from Chinese customs, a drop of 17% from the
average of $3,748 per tonne in 2016.
In previous years, unit values were higher despite lower
overall volumes being traded.
This suggests a persistence of the supply/demand
imbalance that, over the past few years, has characterized
the SG market, which has also been dogged by
Chinese regional governments had been encouraging
widespread production of both uncoated and coated spherical
material from local companies to serve the battery sector.
This encouraged the domestic graphite industry, which is
fragmented and dominated by small firms, to seek in greater
numbers to benefit from tax breaks and favorable
But demand from battery makers had not increased as
rapidly, leading to a supply of material that end-markets
could not absorb. In turn, this brought about a progressive
decrease in SG prices. The latest decline in graphite
export values in the customs data shows how this remains a
Prices have, similarly, been sluggish. Industrial
Minerals assessed the price of Chinese uncoated spherical
graphite, 99.95% C, 15 microns, at $2,250-2,700 per tonne
fob China on March 1, compared with $2,500-3,000 per
tonne in January last year.
Coated SG declines
While total exports ended the year on a high, the
performance of Chinese coated SG told a different story.
Total exports of this material (HS code 38019010) were
3,805 tonnes last year, not only down by 17% from 4,609
tonnes in 2016 but also down from 3,976 tonnes in 2015.
In value terms, 2017 exports generated $25.49 million, a
14% drop from $29.62 million in 2016 and also down from
$25.99 million in 2015.
China mainly sells SG in its uncoated form to other
destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Japan, where the
coating is applied. Chinese exports of coated SG are, in
comparison, much lower.
Graphite remains the primary component of the lithium
battery anode in the mainstream battery chemistries (LMO,
LFP, NCM, NCA) in use today. It can also be found in
small volumes in the cathode to enhance conductivity.
|Chinese coated spherical graphite
exports, $ tonnes
Source: China Customs
|Chinese spherical graphite exports, $
Source: China Customs