Shanxi turns public health emergency status down to Level Two

By Sybil Pan
Published: Tuesday, 25 February 2020

The Shanxi provincial government in China has reduced its public health emergency status to Level Two from Level One (the highest), based on the situation for control of the coronavirus infection (2019-nCoV) in the province on Monday February 24.

Shanxi is one of the country’s production hubs for refractory-grade bauxite. It introduced the Level One emergency response on January 25, following the plan set by the country’s central government after the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, in Hubei province.

Under the Level One response plan, the Chinese new year holiday was extended to February 9 in Shanxi, and bauxite factories were shut down until they received further approval from authorities.

According to market participants, the adjustment of the emergency response level is a positive sign in terms of the fight against the virus, and might contribute to improving the state of industrial operations in Shanxi.

From February 25, producers of calcined bauxite in Xiaoyi and Yangquan have reported improved cross-border logistics and operational restarts, but calcination operations were still limited by a lack of raw material because mining remains at a standstill.

"In Yangquan, some calcined bauxite factories began operations and transport of material to the port city of Tianjin starting from this week," a bauxite producer told Fastmarkets. "But calcination activities are rare because of a lack of bauxite ore."

The same producer added that logistics have improved compared with last week and drivers were gradually returning to work.

Concerns remained over the sourcing of raw materials, especially those used in the calcining of 85% and 86% grades of bauxite.

"Mining is not allowed at the moment and we don’t know the timeline [for a resumption of bauxite ore mining]," a second bauxite producer in Xiaoyi said. "If the situation continues, there is the risk of a shortage of calcined bauxite, considering that producers and traders are filling orders from existing inventory. But the good news is that cross-border movement is becoming easier so bauxite material can be moved from Shanxi to Tianjin without too much trouble."

Bauxite prices went up in the two weeks to February 20, according to Fastmarkets’ latest fortnightly assessments.

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 by 2% on the midpoint from a fortnight earlier.

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 tonne.

Meanwhile, the price of bauxite, refractory-grade, 87%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm), fob Xingang, increased to $430-445 per tonne from the previous assessment at $420-440 per tonne.

And the assessment for bauxite, refractory-grade, 88%/2.0/3.15-3.2 (0-6mm), fob Xingang, was $450-460 per tonne, up from $440-450 per tonne.


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