CHANGSHA, Jul 24 (SMM) – China’s production of antimony oxide is expected to fall sharply this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, according to SMM’s senior minor metals analyst Paton Huang.
Huang delivered a speech on the review of the antimony market for H1 2020 and outlook for Q3 at the 2020 Minor Metals Industry Chain Summit, held by SMM in Changsha, Hunan province on Friday July 24.
Paton Huang, senior minor metals analyst at SMM, spoke at the 2020 Minor Metals Industry Chain Summit, held by SMM in Changsha, Hunan province on Friday July 24.
Tight raw materials supply and cash flows across the upstream and downstream weighed on the antimony market in H1. Huang expected China’s antimony oxide production to shrink 11.7% to 79,694 mt in 2020 from 2019.
The pandemic also took its toll on demand for antimony oxide, Huang added. China’s exports of antimony oxide fell 5.13% year on year to 18,743 mt in H1, showed data from China customs compiled and calculated by SMM.
Prices of domestic antimony trioxide 99.5% in China hovered at a multi-year low of 31,750 yuan/mt in June and early July, before rebounding to 33,250 yuan/mt as of July 24, according to SMM assessments. The prices peaked at 37,500 yuan/mt in late February before kicking off the months-long downtrend.
Prices of refined antimony performed similarly. SMM assessed prices of 2# low-bismuth antimony ingot at 36,000 yuan/mt as of July 24, slightly up from a multi-year low of 34,500 yuan/mt during late May to early July and still far from the peak of 41,000 yuan/mt during late February to early March.
Huang noted that increased costs underpinned antimony prices. Overall costs for producing refined antimony stood at 9,635 yuan/mt, while those for antimony oxide were 3,545 yuan/mt.
China’s production of bismuth will also shrink significantly this year, as raw materials supply is affected by base metals production losses, Huang added.