Robust demand from EU refractories producers supports graphite prices

By Davide Ghilotti
Published: Friday, 29 June 2018

High demand for +894 flake graphite material, one of the main grades used by European refractories producers, has boosted prices although other grades are unchanged.

Firm demand from consumers in Europe pushed the price of refractory grade graphite with 94% C content slightly higher while all other grades held stable.

European refractories producers have reported strong activity from across their customer base since the start of the year, which has underpinned price levels for raw materials, including graphite, which last rose in January.

According to at least two refractory makers in western Europe, order inflows in the first and second quarters of 2018 were much higher than in previous years.

"We are working at full capacity and have introduced a third shift to keep up with the volume of orders," one producer based in Spain told Industrial Minerals at a recent event.

In light of the shortage of refractory raw materials out of China that unfolded throughout 2017, several users chose to increase their stocks early in the year to avoid further price volatility and to ensure security of supply.

Demand, however, has now pressured higher the prices of some of the main refractory grades of flake graphite that are mostly in demand in Europe - in this case, 94% C +80 mesh material (also known as +894 material).

Industrial Minerals assessed the cif Europe price of flake graphite, 94-97% C, +80 mesh, at $1,100-1,300 per tonne on June 28 compared with its previous range of $1,000-1,300 per tonne that had held from mid-January until the previous week.

The increase of the low end of the range reflects higher prices traded for +894 material.

"For a number of producers in Europe, that’s where most of demand is concentrated: 94 to 96% and +80, +100 mesh sizes," one producer said.

Other grades with the same purity level remained stable.

The price of flake graphite, 94-97% C, +100 -80 mesh size, was unchanged at $950-1,100 per tonne cif Europe on June 28. Flake graphite, 94-97% C, -100 mesh size, was also stable at $790-940 per tonne cif Europe.



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