SHANGHAI, Mar. 5 (SMM) --
This week, SMM conducted a survey on silicon producers in Fujian province, and overall operating rates at these silicon producers were relatively stable at 65%, slightly higher from levels before the Chinese New Year holiday. Electricity prices dropped to RMB 0.48/ kWh in northwest and north regions of Fujian province, but electricity pries were still around RMB 0.53/kWh in the remaining regions.
Among the 12 surveyed companies that cover 80 kt capacities, 6 companies worked at full capacity (a company has started furnace just now), 4 companies halted production (a company plans to start furnace in late March), and the remaining 2 companies ran at 50% capacity. Electricity price is still the major factor affecting operating rates at silicon producers. According to a person-in-charge from silicon producer, spot sales and contract sales were both brisk recently, prices to port for #553 silicon metal were in the RMB 12,300-12,400/mt range, and prices to port for #441 silicon metal were at RMB 12,800/mt. With rain volumes increases, electricity prices are expected to fall to certain extent in the remaining regions in Fujian province and operating rates in Fujian are expected to climb further.
This week, silicon metal prices gradually climbed up, and sales from silicon producers were better than that from traders. Offers were supported by raw material price increases, and market trend become clearer and clearer, although recovery of demand was still slow. Export prices were also lifted, and exporters firmly believed price increases in the future. Although there were only few transactions in exporting market, exporters show little concern, and they believed that overseas consumers will gradually accept the offers.
SMM believes that operating rates will climb in Fujian and Hunan provinces with increase of rain volumes, and costs will still support silicon prices. In addition, purchasing demand from domestic downstream consumers and exporting market will increase, and silicon metal prices will continue to rise in the short term. It is expected that mainstream prices of # 553 and #2202 silicon metal will move in the RMB 12,200-14,400/mt range.
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