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Industrial Minerals: European acidspar market tightness pushes buyers to China; prices firm there – Tertiary Minerals #TYM
Acidspar consumers in Europe have struggled to secure quality material consistently and in timely fashion because Chinese consumers are paying more than their European counterparts.
Acidspar availability in Europe is tight because producers are looking to sell to consumers in China where they can achieve higher prices.
The tightness in the European market is forcing consumers to enter the Chinese market to source material, putting upward pressure on acid grade fluorspar prices in China.
“No large volumes are being seen on the market [in Europe] – it can be done but with difficulty. There is no stock available. There is a premium on consistency and timely deliveries,” one trader said. “Flows of material are irregular and it has become a hand-to-mouth market.”
Industrial Minerals assessed the price of acidspar, 97% CaF2, wet filtercake, fob China at $450-530 per tonne on June 21, unchanged for a third consecutive week. At the start of 2018, the price was $400-420 per tonne.
Industrial Minerals does not price acidspar sold into China on a cif basis but understands the price to be $450-500 per tonne, according to a source selling material to Chinese consumers.
European prices have yet to react to the tightness and the choppier trading conditions, however. Industrial Minerals assessed the price in Europe for acidspar, 97% CaF2, wet filtercake, cif Rotterdam at $370-390 per tonne on February 15, where it has since held firm.
“All the material available on the spot market has gone to China,” a second trader said.
He claimed to have received inquiries from a major European acidspar user that had not previously approached him, highlighting the fact that even major buyers are scrambling to secure material.
“Asia is paying better [than Europe] and any producer with material is supplying them,” a producer confirmed.
Link here to read article on IndMin website
Tight supply and strong demand has given fluorspar producers confidence that strong prices will continue into 2019.
Restricted fluorspar supply from China has pushed prices higher over 2018 and with strong end-market demand, producers believe market conditions will carry on supporting high prices.
One producer told Industrial Minerals that “consumers stocks are depleted which means they have no space to trial different producers – they must stick with material they are used to processing.”
“This puts an emphasis on quality material and consistent supply and with supply tight due to environmental controls in China, consumers are requesting advance shipments,” the producer added. “This is something I haven’t seen for many, many years.”
The producer source told Industrial Minerals he anticipates the current market conditions to support strong pricing into 2019.
Another producer said its mining operation is running at full capacity as a result of positive demand.
Industrial Minerals’ acidspar,97% CaF2, wet filtercake, prices were assessed at $450-530 per tonne fob, China on Thursday June 21. This is up from $400-420 per tonne at the beginning of 2018.
Strong demand in the fluorspar end markets, such as refrigerants, has met with reduced volumes of fluorspar available on the international market from China – the world’s largest producing market – to provide the perfect conditions for higher spot prices.
Environment controls from the Chinese government have hit the fluorspar mining sector, with the second producer source believing “illegal” mines have been taken off the market following inspections.
The fluorspar mining sector in China is extremely fragmented with the largest 30 mines accounting for 1 million tonnes per year of production, and the smallest of those 30 producing just 5,000 tpy.
By comparison the world’s largest producer, Mexichem, produces over 1 million tpy of the 6.5 million tpy global supply.
With mines coming offline due to inspections and no large-volume producers to supply the demand, European consumers have described difficulty in filling order books.
While it is unsurprising that producers are commenting on strong prices while the market approaches contract negotiation stages, typically around September, other market participants have been echoing the sentiment.
One trader told Industrial Minerals he had received inquiries from high-volume European consumers, which he had never experienced before.
The same source said consumers were looking to settle contracts earlier in the year to secure supply, but also on estimations that prices would rise in the second half of 2018.
by Martim Facada, IndMin. First published: Thursday, 05 April 2018
Link here to read the original article on the IndMin.com website
Adverse weather and lower evaporation rates reduced Orocobre’s lithium compounds output in the first quarter, but it still achieved higher sales prices.
Argentina-based lithium producer Orocobre has announced a 29% fall in its production of lithium carbonate in January-March 2018, with output down to 2,802 tonnes against the 3,937 tonnes produced in the last quarter of 2017.
A 24% decline in brine evaporation rates year-on-year hampered the brine concentration process. This was a result of reduced hours of sunshine, cloudy conditions and rain, which were said to be the main factors behind the lower production.
But although production was reduced, Orocobre achieved higher prices. It sold 3,052 tonnes of lithium carbonate in the first quarter at an average price of $13,533 per tonne fob, up by 17% compared with the preceding quarter.
Total sales revenue achieved in January-March was $41.3 million.
The contract price of lithium carbonate, min 99% (Li2CO3), technical and industrial grades, was last assessed* by Industrial Minerals on March 28 at $16.00-18.50 per kg on a ddp Europe and US basis.
On the same day, the contract price for lithium carbonate, min 99% (Li2CO3), technical and industrial grades, cif China, Japan and South Korea, was assessed at $16-19 per kg on a ddp Europe and US basis.
Because of the first-quarter fall in production, Orocobre expects to produce 10% less lithium carbonate for the full 2018 financial year than was indicated by the previous guidance of 14,000 tonnes. Further details will be provided in the company’s March quarterly report.
Orocobre produced 11,392 tonnes of lithium carbonate from Olaroz throughout the 2017 calendar year, and 11,892 tonnes in the 2017 financial year from June 2016 to June 2017.
“While I recognize that this change in production guidance is very disappointing, the adverse weather conditions were outside our control,” chief executive officer and managing director Richard Seville said.
“However, recent weather events have confirmed the previously identified need to further improve the robustness of operations and reduce production variability from [the effects of] weather,” he added. “Plans for the Phase 2 expansion already include enhancements to the lithium carbonate processing plant and the potential use of evaporator/crystallizers during adverse weather events, to maintain consistent brine concentration prior to processing in both Phase 1 and Phase 2.”
Spot prices in the domestic Chinese market for lithium have softened this week due to lower consumption, while prices in the rest of the world have gone up, driven by bullish market sentiment.
Spot prices for lithium fell this week in China because of lower consumption, with most consumers in no hurry to buy material and holding back from further purchasing while prices soften.
“The battery-grade lithium carbonate spot market has been illiquid, and it has been hard to conclude deals at prices higher than 150,000 yuan [$23,896] per tonne this week,” a Chinese lithium carbonate producer told Industrial Minerals.
“Consumers are monitoring the market and are unwilling to place orders, expecting that prices will keep moving downward,” he added.
Lower demand from battery consumers pushed down the market price of battery-grade lithium compounds, compelling producers to lower their prices to secure sales.
The spot price for battery-grade lithium carbonate (min 99.5% Li2CO3) decreased to 146,000-150,000 yuan ($23,208-23,844)* per tonne on Thursday March 29, according to Industrial Minerals’ market assessment. This was down from 150,000-155,000 yuan per tonne in the previous week.
The price of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O) remained stable week-on-week at 148,000-153,000 yuan per tonne.
Prices of technical and industrial grades of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide monohydrate were also unchanged this week amid thin buying activity.
The spot prices for lithium carbonate, technical and industrial grades (min 99% Li2CO3), ex-works domestic China, remained stable at 140,000-145,000 yuan per tonne on March 29, with the the same prices being reported for technical and industrial grades of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (min 56.5% LiOH.H2O).
The seaborne China, Japan and South Korea lithium market saw a small price uptick, supported by reported deals and suppliers’ bullish market sentiment.
“Our prices remain below the current Chinese domestic spot market prices. But in recent weeks the seaborne market outside China has been close to $20 per kg, and at least $1 per kg higher for lithium carbonate battery-grade material,” he added.
Pushed by market sentiment and confirmed deals, the spot price of lithium carbonate, technical and industrial grade, cif China, Japan and South Korea, moved up slightly to $18-20 per kg on March 29 [LINK], from $17.50-19.50 per kg the week before.
Meanwhile, the price of lithium carbonate, battery grade, cif China, Japan and South Korea, remained unchanged week on week at $19-21 per kg [LINK].
The prices of lithium hydroxide monohydrate, technical and industrial, and battery grades, also showed small week-on-week upticks on March 29, to $20-21 per kg from $19-21 per kg and to $20.10-22.00 per kg from $19-22 per kg, respectively.
Europe, North America
The European and North American lithium spot markets have also shown a price increase over the course of the week, due to bullish sentiment among suppliers.
“It would be exceptional to find lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide monohydrate [for a price] as low as $17-18 per kg in the European and North American spot markets, due to the current tightness of material,” a second lithium producer told Industrial Minerals.
“The market wouldn’t sell any of our grades of lithium carbonate for less than $19 per kg or our lithium hydroxide for less than $20 per kg,” a second lithium supplier told Industrial Minerals.
Suppliers’ bullish sentiment has pushed up the European and North American spot prices of lithium carbonate, technical and industrial grades, week-on-week to $17-19 per kg on March 29, from $16.50-18.50 per kg.
Meanwhile, spot prices of lithium carbonate, battery grade, moved up to $18-20 per kg on March 29, from $17.50-19.50 per kg.
There was more spot market activity in lithium hydroxide monohydrate, technical and industrial grades, with prices moving up to $19.00-20.50 per kg on March 29 from $18.80-20.50 per kg previously.
“We have been active in negotiations to lock in more sales of lithium hydroxide monohydrate, technical and industrial grade, over the course of this week, but we wouldn’t sell material for less than $19 per kg. Actually, all our sales are [at prices] closer to $20 per kg,” a third lithium supplier told Industrial Minerals.
In addition, the lithium hydroxide monohydrate battery-grade spot market moved upward slightly week-on-week, to $19.10-21.00 per kg on March 29.
Full article here
From Industrial Minerals.
First published: Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Amid supply pressure from environmental protection policy, strong demand in fluorine chemical industry helps support fluorspar prices.
Sales and profits at China Kings Resources Group, the leading fluorspar company in China, bounced on rising prices for fluorochemical feedstock.
Revenues rose by 21% year-on-year (y-o-y) in H1, to Chinese Renminbi (Rmb) 165.83m ($25m), and net profit increased 21% y-o-y to 33.86m ($5m).
Kings Resources Group’s acidspar (min 97% CaF2) output in H1 jumpedby 30% y-o-y to 67,900 tonnes, while metspar also rose 21% y-o-y to 4,100 tonnes. The company attributed the production increase to the newly operated Dajinzhuang mine, which only began production in the second half of 2016.
However, due to the remote location of this mine in the mountain, the cold winter season and the spring festival holiday, Dajinzhuang was only in production for three months during the first half of this year, the company said.
During the reporting period, due to the stability of product quality, the company has also started to supply directly to smelting enterprises, instead of traders. The supply volume to direct end-users are bigger, China Kings said.
Due to pressure from government policy and environmental protection, price for hydrofluoric acid were high over the period, due to capacity cut. At the same time, the downstream fluorite demand has picked up, which supported consumption for fluorspar, and pushed prices higher.
According to China Kings, the average acidspar prices in Q2 2017 spiked to Rmb1,863/tonne ($282), up 56% compared to prices in December 2016 was at Rmb 1,195/tonne ($181). Both prices were excluding taxes.
China Kings reported that demand from the fluorine chemical industry was the key driver, followed by the electrolytic aluminium and steel industries.
Citing hydrofluoric acid as an example, the basic source material of the most upper stream fluorine chemical industry, the output and capacity in China in recent years both kept over 10% CAGR, especially the six eastern provinces whose hydrofluoric acid output accounts for two thirds in China, this area had an output of 1.06m tonnes in 2016, equivalent to acidspar demand of 2.43m tonnes, meaning a supply gap of 560,000 tonnes.
By MARTIM FACADA
First published: Monday, 24 April 2017
The lithium market across the three major regional markets – the US, Europe and China – has been relatively stable in April so far, supported by continuous growth in the Chinese battery sector.
The Chinese domestic market – which has higher spot market activity than the other two western regions – continues to report high levels of activity due to demand from the booming domestic battery sector.
Lithium carbonate spot prices (min. 99-99.5% Li2CO3, CIF China) remain between $18-21/kg for lots of 20 tonnes of material while lithium hydroxide (56.5-57.5% LiOH, CIF China) continues to trade at $20.50-24/kg.
In the US and Europe, the market has remained fairly stable in April although it should be noted that lithium carbonate contract prices have moved up slightly on the low end.
Large biannual contracts for lithium carbonate (min. 99-99.5% Li2CO3, del. US and Europe) saw a small increase of $0.50/kg on the low end to $10.50-16/kg from $10-16/kg previously, while large quarterly contracts rose by $1/kg on the low end to $11-18/kg from $10-18 previously.
Persisting higher prices in China, bullish sentiment and tightness of lithium carbonate on the market were the main reasons cited to IM driving the small increase.
Meanwhile, spot sales in the US and Europe are being reported as high as $18/kg for lithium carbonate (min. 99-99.5% Li2CO3, del. US and Europe).
Lithium hydroxide (56.5-57.5% LiOH, del. US and Europe) contract prices remain unchanged at $14-20/kg.
Link to full article at IndMin website here
Legislation under consideration by the US House of Representatives would create a fund to support domestic production of strategic minerals, chiefly rare earths (the lanthanide elements, yttrium and scandium) but would also provide financing to lithium, fluorspar, vanadium and antimony producers.
A bill introduced to the floor of the House of Representatives on 7 March 2017 aims to reduce US dependence on foreign rare earth suppliers by creating a fund to back domestic producers.
The “Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security Act”, or METALS Act, introduced by California congressman, Rep. Duncan
Metspar spot prices have remained largely stable in Europe over the last couple of week despite increased supplies reaching Turkey, market sources told Industrial Minerals.
Turkey is receiving more materials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, as it is the main export destination from the three producing countries, a trader active in…Full article here