GLOBAL SILICON WRAP: Chinese prices subdued; European market stable

China silicon export prices were depressed last week on weak demand, although the price decline seen in September has slowed down, while European market remained stable.

China grade 553 silicon metal export price moved down to $1,780-1,850 per tonne on Friday September 29, 1.1% lower than the previous week.

Spot demand has shrunk greatly due to the completion of Japanese tenders for the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, market participants have not spotted any pick-up in demand from European and Middle Eastern markets.

“There have been few export deals in the spot market this week. The majority of market participants are standing on the sidelines ahead of the National holiday in China [from October 1-8],” a trader said.

“I’ve sent offer prices to Europe which are lower than current European market indications. However, there were no responses from European buyers,” the same trader added.

However, further price drops are being halted by the rise in raw materials costs for silicon metal production.

As a result, Chinese domestic quotations from refineries for grade 553 silicon metals have stabilised and export traders have a positive outlook on prices after the week-long holiday.

“Raw materials costs for silicon production are still rising. Under such circumstances, some refineries would choose to stop production in winter [to avoid] paying higher costs on power. After all, they made good profits in the summer,” a second trader said.

Both domestic and export silicon metal prices had been enjoying new highs since the beginning of August due to delayed production restarts in southern China and supply constraints resulting from extensive environmental inspections in China. The rally ended when prices dropped quickly at the start of September.

“We see a trend for silicon export price to buck the trend, therefore, we are building up stocks,” the second trader said.

“The downward trend for China silicon export price might turn back at certain point,” a consumer added.

European prices stable; demand strong
European silicon prices were stable last week after a drastic increase in September following a slow couple of months. Silicon prices for both grades had been flat since April and May with limited spot activity.

Metal Bulletin’s assessment for grade 441 silicon, in-warehouse Rotterdam prices were at €2,190-2,300 ($2,587-2,717) per tonne on Friday September 29, unchanged from the previous assessment.

Grade 553 prices were also stable at €2,100-2,205 per tonne with concluded business and offers all within the range for both grades.

“Market has stabilised for now but demand is still strong,” a trader in Europe said. “Positive sentiment should continue,” the trader added.

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