SHANGHAI, Sep 11 (SMM) – Operating rates across Chinese producers of silicon metal averaged 42.4% in August, up 0.8 percentage point from July but down 9.4 percentage points from August 2018, showed an SMM survey.
The month-on-month increase was bolstered by the two top producing hubs, Xinjiang and Yunnan, which saw operating rates climb 4.1 and 2.7 percentage points, respectively.
Operating rates across another major producing hub, Sichuan, dropped 3.9 percentage points last month, as some plants suspended for maintenance.
The rates across Fujian, Qinghai and Shaanxi, fell sharply last month, after the shutdown of loss-making capacity.
The closure or curtailments of high-cost capacity have turned the domestic silicon market to a supply-demand balance, while social inventories stood lower than the same period last year after the depletion of stocks accumulated from last year.
If silicon prices hold to current levels, operating rates across silicon metal producers are expected to remain firm until the end of October, when electricity tariffs will rise in Sichuan and Yunnan in a dry season.
SMM expects the average operating rate across Chinese silicon metal producers to edge higher to 45.3% in September.