Prices for refractory-grade brown fused alumina (BFA)
stabilized in late January after five consecutive drops, while
the price for abrasive-grade BFA continued to tick down
slightly on the low end. White fused alumina (WFA) prices fell
again in January despite upward adjustment in the feedstock
price, while bauxite prices remained firm on a looming supply
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for alumina, fused brown, min 95% Al2O3, refractory
sized (0-6mm), fob China, was $940-980 per tonne on January
20, in line with the previous assessment after falling for more
than two months.
On the same day, Fastmarkets assessed the price for alumina, fused brown, min 95% Al2O3, FEPA
F8-220 grit, fob China, was $980-1,090 per tonne, widening
downward by $20 per tonne from the previous assessment.
Liquidity was low for both grades of BFA in January in the
run-up to China’s lunar new year holiday from
January 31 to February 6.
The stabilized refractory-grade BFA price indicated an
improvement in market sentiment over concerns about supply
risks while China hosts the Winter Olympics, given that major
production hubs such as Henan and Shanxi provinces are close to
While the bulk of operations in Henan have already
been put on temporary shutdown, in line with the environmental
regulations to limit air pollution in the winter months, any
remaining active plants were ready to be suspended for the
Whether production will resume after the holiday
remained unknown for many producers in China. "Frequency of
inspections might increase and there could be operational cuts
for individual producers," a local producer told
Meanwhile, Fastmarkets assessed the price for alumina, fused white, 25kg bags, cif
Europe, at €900-1,050 ($1,021-1,191) per tonne, down
by €30 per tonne with confirmed liquidity at the high end
of the range.
Prices for WFA have been moving downward in the preceding
month on slow demand and previous drops in the price for Bayer
alumina powder, feedstock for WFA manufacturing.
Bayer alumina powder prices dropped from 4,000 yuan
($628) per tonne in the middle of October to 2,804 yuan per
tonne at the start of 2022, then ticked upward slightly to
2,840 yuan per tonne, according to sources.
Given that Bayer alumina powder is a major driver
behind the price changes in WFA, a sharp decline in the former
has resulted in losses for the latter over recent months.
Following the recent upward adjustment on Bayer alumina powder,
WFA suppliers believed that supply concerns might limit further
losses in WFA and add support to the market
The market outlook was bullish for the first quarter
of 2022, considering that the market was short of feedstock
material and there were likely to be new restrictions on output
during the Winter Olympics, according to a producer in
Fastmarkets’ price assessments for all
four grades of bauxite remained unchanged for a second
consecutive fortnight in the assessments on January
Liquidity remained low over the period, with market
participants expressing concerns about the availability of
refractory-grade bauxite after the lunar new year
"While the market is weak now, supply risks
[affecting] bauxite amid the Winter Olympics and mining
regulations in Shanxi and Guizhou could limit any further
losses of material," one trader of refractories in China
Despite a slow recovery in the mining of bauxite ore
in Shanxi, calcination rates have stayed at minimum levels due
to high prices for bauxite ore and anti-pollution regulations
affecting the coal-fueled operation kilns, especially in Xiaoyi
City, which was expected to be halted until the middle of
March, according to sources.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for bauxite, refractory-grade, 85%/2.0/3.15-3.2
(0-6mm), fob Xingang, was $450-460 per tonne on January
The price for bauxite, refractory-grade, 86%/2.0/3.15-3.2
(0-6mm), fob Xingang, was $460-480 per tonne on the same
day, while that for bauxite, refractory-grade, 87%/2.0/3.15-3.2
(0-6mm), fob Xingang, was $480-500 per tonne.
And the assessment for bauxite, refractory-grade, 88%/2.0/3.15-3.2
(0-6mm), fob Xingang, was $500-520 per tonne.