SHANGHAI, Jan 29 (SMM) – China’s imports of high-carbon ferrochrome declined 8% year on year to stand at 2.53 million mt in 2018 as domestic capacity expansion, a declining market and limited demand from stainless steel deterred imports from entering China.
In December, imports of high-carbon ferrochrome came in at 206,800 mt, down 4.8% month on month and 13% year on year, showed data from China Customs.
Imports from South Africa grew 74% from November to 129,000 mt in December, but lost 21% from 2017 to 1.18 million mt in 2018 as demand growth in Indonesia diverted supplies from South Africa.
Materials that originated from Kazakhstan jumped by 85% and stood at 45,800 mt in December. The figure came in at 520,900 mt in 2018, down 7% from a year earlier.
Indian high-carbon ferrochrome that entered China stood at 24,200 mt in December, up 77% from November, and 222,700 mt throughout the year, down 34% from 2017.
For 2018, imports of high-carbon ferrochrome from South Africa accounted for the most of the total, 46%, followed by materials from Kazakhstan, taking up for 21%.
High-carbon ferrochrome capacity in China expanded by 600,000 mt in 2018, with output up 6.84% to 5.27 million mt. SMM expects the capacity expansion would slow in 2019. Capacity is likely to increase by 4.21% year on year to stand at 13.96 million mt, with output growing to 5.53 million mt.
SMM expects a supply surplus for high-carbon ferrochrome in China in 2019, likely to result in a decline in imports.
High-carbon ferrochrome is one of several raw materials required to produce stainless steel.