Unshaped refractory materials output up 10% in August

By Carrie Shi
Published: Monday, 22 October 2018

Strong demand from the steel and construction sectors drove higher output of refractory materials in China in August.

China produced 674,200 tonnes of unshaped refractory materials in August 2018, up 10.16% year-on-year.

Of the total, 589,100 tonnes were alumina-silicon refractory materials, up by 8.65% from August 2017, and 85,000 tonnes were magnesia-based unshaped refractory materials, an increase of 21.89% annually, according to data from the China Association of Refractories.

The increase in unshaped refractory material output in August 2018 can be attributed to stronger demand from the steel and construction sectors, especially for alumina-silicon and magnesia-based unshaped refractory products.

China’s total unshaped refractory products output in the first eight months of 2018 came to 4.46 million tonnes, up by 4.39% year-on-year. Alumina-silicon refractory material made up 3.73 million tonnes of the total, an increase of 13.58% from the same months last year, while 726,600 tonnes were magnesia-based unshaped refractory material. This marked a drop of 26.27% year-on-year.

Downstream performance

Downstream crude steel production rose to 326,000 tonnes in August, up by 2.7% from the same month of 2017. Total output was 617 million tonnes in the first eight months of the year, up by 5.8% from the same months of 2017.

In construction materials, cement output totaled 200 million tonnes in August, up by 5% year-on-year, while total output in the first eight months was 1.38 million tonnes, up by 0.5%.

Total non-ferrous output was 4.53 million tonnes in August, up by 5.7% from the same month last year.

Output in the first eight months of 2018 was 35.71 million tonnes, up by 3.8% year-on-year. Copper output was 5.84 million tonnes, up by 11.4%. Electrolytic aluminum output was 22.21 million tonnes, up by 3.5%. Lead production rose by 6.2% to 3.09 million tonnes; zinc output was 3.69 million tonnes, falling by 1.4%; and alumina output was 44.75 million tonnes, up by 2.8%. All of these comparisons are year-on-year for the first eight months.

Raw materials pricing

Most refractory raw material prices, such as magnesia and graphite, have held steady recently. Magnesia prices became firmer on recent stricter environmental regulation.

Fastmarkets assessed the price of dead-burned magnesia, 97.5% MgO, lump, at $1,100-1,300 per tonne fob China on September 25, unchanged since August 21.

The price assessment for flake graphite, 94-97% C, +80 mesh, on an fob China basis, was stable at $900-1,200 per tonne on September 20.