Fastmarkets assessed the
price of bauxite, refractory-grade, 85%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm),
fob Xingang at $390-405 per tonne on Thursday, up 2% on the
midpoint from a fortnight ago.
Over the same assessment period, the
price of bauxite, refractory-grade, 86%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm),
fob Xingang rose to $405-430 per tonne, from $400-420 per
Meanwhile, the price of
bauxite, refractory-grade, 87%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm), fob
Xingang increased to $430-445 per tonne against the
previous assessment at $420-440 per tonne.
bauxite, refractory-grade, 88%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm), fob
Xingang price was at $450-460 per tonne, up from $440-450
The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which is entering its
third month, continues to disrupt bauxite mining, calcination
The provincial government of Shanxi reported a restart rate
of 61.4% among large and medium sized companies on February
But according to market sources,
the bauxite calcination operation recovery rate was only around
10% in the province and mining activities were not allowed
at the moment. This indicates there will be limited new
output of bauxite before operations return to normal, which was
expected to be in March.
Many producers of calcined bauxite in contact with
Fastmarkets said operations were suspended in most parts of
Shanxi, especially in Jiexiu and Xiaoyi, with calcination
factories waiting for the government’s reply to
applications to restart.
"We filed the application [for business restart] six days
ago, but have not got any reply yet," a producer in Yangquan
said. "If we get the permit for a production restart, we can,
at least, ship the inventory out [because only with the permit
can factories get the pass for logistics]."
Another producer based in Shanxi told Fastmarkets they were
due to restart the moving of material from this week.
"We’re moving material to Tianjin for
processing and packing. This will be shipped in March," the
producer said. "We are fulfilling all existing orders, but are
not in a position to take new ones [at present]."
In addition to the slow rate of operation are logistics
Shanxi is an inland province.
This means any material bound for export is transported to the
port city in advance, which leads to the issue of limited
drivers for cross-provincial transport and possible quarantine
periods when arriving at port.
"The major concern over cross-border transport is that
it’s very hard to find drivers. We heard that at
the Tianjin port, drivers from other provinces would face a
two-week quarantine. Meanwhile, there are other risks along the
way," a trader of bauxite in Shanxi told Fastmarkets, "It might
get better in March but it all depends."
Furthermore, raw material sourcing constitutes another
factor that continues to threaten the supply of calcined
bauxite from China.
High-grade bauxite ore is difficult to source
due to depletion of resources as well as
governments’ efforts to keep mining activities
The restricted mining activities due to the virus outbreak
have caused some calcination factories to express concerns over
the difficulty in sourcing raw materials and the shortage of
certain grades of calcined bauxite, such as 85% bauxite.
"The majority of bauxite in Yangquan is bought from other
places in Shanxi because mines here are either under regulation
or running out of qualified resources," a third producer source
Fused alumina markets flat
Fused alumina production in Henan are starting to show signs
of recovery in major production cities of Zhengzhou and
Luoyang. But operations are only at a minimum level and
producers are warning about the delay in shipments.
Prices of fused alumina remained unchanged due to this
uncertainty over production and delivery.
Fastmarkets assessed the price
of alumina, fused brown, min 95% Al2O3, refractory sized
(0-6mm), fob China at $720-730 per tonne on February 20, in
line with the previous assessment.
of alumina, fused brown, min 95% Al2O3, FEPA F8-220 grit, fob
China was at $800-820 per tonne on the same day.
And the price
of alumina, fused white, 25kg bags, cif Europe stood at
€670-770 ($726-835) per tonne, stable for third
"Taking BFA [brown fused
alumina] as an example, calcined bauxite [the feedstock for BFA
production] in Shanxi cannot be delivered at the moment and we
don’t know what the price will be.
It’s impossible to quote now," a BFA producer in
Luoyang said. "And we are not in full operation, just dozens of
workers taking shifts on a daily basis. The output is only for
Meanwhile, Henan is also located far from the port so there
come the issue of logistics.
"Orders are mainly those signed before the [Chinese New
Year] holiday. And even for those orders, it’s
uncertain when we can arrange the shipments because
it’s very difficult to find trucks and drivers who
would like to take the risk," a second fused alumina producer
in Zhengzhou city said.
"If there are new inquiries, we will tell them that offers
can only be made by the middle of March with freight until the
end of the month," a third fused alumina producer in Zhengzhou
city told Fastmarkets.