China’s fluorspar exports fall in H1 2019 but average prices climb

By Carrie Shi
Published: Wednesday, 07 August 2019

Export volumes of fluorspar out of China edged downward in the first half of 2019, but the average price went up on the impetus of rises in the domestic price, driven by tight supply.

China’s total export volumes of fluorspar, with CaF2 content of more than 97%, in the first half of 2019 came to 97,722 tonnes, down by 3.8% from 101,626 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2018, according to official Chinese data.

The export value of lithium carbonate was up by 4% to $39.81 million from $38.28 million in January-June 2018. The average price increased by 7.9% year on year to $407 per tonne on higher agreed prices, influenced by rises in the domestic price in China caused by tight supply.

The five leading destinations for exports were India (34,848 tonnes), Japan (19,957 tonnes), the Netherlands (16,574 tonnes), the United States (9,187 tonnes) and Germany (5,381 tonnes).

China’s fluorspar acidspar market mostly held firm in the first half of 2019, also due to tight supply, caused by reduced production and strict environmental inspections.

Prices have shown signs of softness in the past week, under pressure from falling downstream prices for hydrogen fluoride (HF) and a sluggish market for refrigerants. Fastmarkets’ latest price assessment for fluorspar, acidspar, 97% CaF2, wet filtercake, fob China, was $460-520 per tonne on August 1.

China imported only 31,948 tonnes of fluorspar (CaF2 >97%) in the first half of 2019, down by 50% year-on-year from 63,916 tonnes in January-June 2018. The average value of material imported was $273 per tonne, down by 20.9% year on year. Imports came mostly from Burma (16,327 tonnes) and Mongolia (7,527 tonnes).

Low-purity fluorspar

Total export volumes of fluorspar with CaF2 content less than, or equal to, 97% in the first half of 2019 came to 91,907 tonnes, down by 11.5% year on year from 102,507 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2018. The average value of material exported was $325 per tonne, up by 18.2%.

The five principal destinations for this material in January-June were India (31,971 tonnes), South Korea (17,020 tonnes), Japan (12,620 tonnes), Indonesia (10,870 tonnes) and Taiwan (8,820 tonnes).

Strong demand for downstream steel products and construction materials in both the domestic and export markets gave continuing support to the volumes and prices of fluorspar exports.

China’s imports of fluorspar (CaF2 ≤97%) in the first half of 2019 increased by 42.7% year on year to 197,082 tonnes, from 138,150 tonnes in January-June 2018. The average value of material imported was $163 per tonne, flat year on year.

Imports came mostly from Mongolia (173,831 tonnes), Burma (8,190 tonnes) and South Africa (4,913 tonnes).

Downstream markets

In downstream markets, exports of aluminum fluoride in January-June 2019 came to 46,118 tonnes, up by 8.5% year on year from 42,502 tonnes. The average value was $1,563 per tonne, and this was down by 7.3% year on year.

The major destinations for these exports were India (9,397 tonnes), Russia (6,637 tonnes), Malaysia (4,664 tonnes), Australia (4,557 tonnes), and New Zealand (4,156 tonnes).

In the hydrogen fluoride (HF) sector, exports came to 121,776 tonnes in the first half of 2019, down by 6.2% from 129,879 tonnes a year ago, and the average value also fell by 12.7% year on year to $1,642 per tonne.

The main destinations were Japan (55,101 tonnes), South Korea (25,100 tonnes), Taiwan (16,592 tonnes), Malaysia (6,329 tonnes) and Thailand (4,076 tonnes).

 



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