China flake graphite prices dip on slow buying, weakening yuan

By Carrie Shi
Published: Friday, 24 August 2018

Chinese flake graphite export prices fell on soft domestic prices and a weakening yuan against the US dollar, while spherical graphite export prices were stable on steady demand from downstream anode producers.

China’s flake graphite market began to downtrend this week due to some producers offering lower prices to attract deals in a flat market. Exporters also decreased flake graphite export prices on softer domestic prices and a recent weakening in the exchange rate between the yuan and the dollar.

Prices for flake graphite +894 moved down further, with more overseas buyers pressuring prices due to a weakening exchange rate. Industrial Minerals assessed prices for flake graphite 94-97% C, +80 mesh at $900-1,200 per tonne, fob China, on August 23 down from $950-1,210 per tonne the previous week.

"Export prices for flake graphite +894 decreased $50 per tonne as more customers are giving us pressure due to weakening RMB. The exchange rate of RMB against the US dollar has weakened from around 6.5 to nearly 6.9 currently, causing export prices to go down accordingly," a producer in Qingdao told Industrial Minerals. 

Prices for flake graphite 94-97% C, -100 mesh also witnessed a slight decrease with most low-grade prices rangebound at a lower level due to sufficient supply, while high-grade material prices remained firm on limited production. Industrial Minerals assessment for low grade export prices were assessed at $650-790 per tonne on August 23, down from $655-790 per tonne the week before.

"Domestic prices for flake graphite -194 are mostly around 4,400 yuan ($640.05) per tonne, but prices below this level have also been reported by some producers. More overseas buyers are willing to use an exchange rate of 6.7-6.8 to buy materials, and export prices have been affected by the weakening yuan," a trader said.

The latest decline in China follows earlier indications of weaker prices in the delivered Europe market, which Industrial Minerals reported on last week.

Chinese spherical graphite export prices remained stable this week, supported by steady demand from downstream anode producers. Most producers still held export prices above $2,800 per tonne for the moment, sources said.

"We have not adjusted spherical graphite prices and our customers keep purchasing with current prices range. Domestic prices remain firm and more producers still hold prices above 20,000 yuan per tonne," a producer in Qingdao said.

Industrial Mineral's spherical graphite 99.95% C, 15 microns prices were assessed at $2,800-2,900 per tonne fob China on August 23. unchanged from last week's assessment.

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