China's Jan-Oct silicon exports surge 20% on year to 672,000 mt: CNIA

Hong Kong (Platts)--7 Dec 2017 836 am EST/1336 GMT

China's silicon metal exports rose 20.4% year on year to 672,000 mt over January-October, with FOB prices for 553 silicon averaging $1,786/mt in the period, China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said late Wednesday.

Exports in October totaled 58,000 mt, up 1.7% year on year, with FOB prices averaging $1,974/mt in the month, up 12.6% year on year, CNIA said in its monthly silicon report.

The country's silicon exports to Japan fell 10.4% year on year to 13,200 mt in October, to South Korea rose 14.8% to 10,000 mt and to Europe rose 6.9% to 10,100 mt, CNIA data showed. Exports to Asia excluding Japan and South Korea rose 10.1% over the same period to 20,700 mt.

CNIA said China's vigorous supply side reforms and environmental protection controls have pushed up raw material prices in recent months, pressuring domestic silicon metal prices higher.

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The third quarter remained China's peak silicon export season, even though prices rose this year rather than fell, and overseas traders had largely replenished stocks by Q4, when prices stabilized, CNIA said.

It forecast the country's silicon exports would dip in December.

Chinese non oxygen 553 silicon prices were forecast to hover around Yuan 11,800-12,500/mt in December, up from an average of Yuan 12,418/mt in November, with CNIA noting the impact of the dry season in Yunnan and Sichuan on prices had yet to be seen. Silicon production in China relies heavily of hydropower, which is scaled back in dry seasons.

The operating rate of silicon producers in the northwest Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region rose to 75% of capacity at end November from 71% at end October, while deliveries from the region were likely to slow in Q4 due to a seasonal switch from road to rail in winter, CNIA said.

The operating rate in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces was lower at end November than the month before, falling to 42% and 22% in the Leshan and Liangshan areas of Sichuan respectively, down from 60% and 68% a month earlier.

In Yunnan, output in the Dehong and Nujiang areas fell to 47% and 74% respectively at end November from 75% and 63% a month earlier.

Yunnan is China's biggest silicon producer with 1.3 million mt/year of silicon production capacity, followed by Xinjiang with 1.05 million mt/year and Sichuan with 700,000 mt/year, CNIA data showed.

--Joshua Leung,
--Edited by Wendy Wells,

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