SHANGHAI, Jun 17 (SMM) – SMM data showed that China's silicon metal output stood at 189,000 mt in May, down 4.2% from the previous month. The increase in maintenance capacity in Xinjiang and power curtailment and production cut in Yunnan affected the output in May. Operating rates across Chinese silicon metal producers fell 3.8 percentage points to 45.2% in May.
Operating load of large-scale silicon plant in Xinjiang fell due to the maintenance of its own power station since the beginning of May. The original plan was to resume production in mid-June after the maintenance was completed. However, the 200,000-mt monomer unit in the first phase was shut down after the fire broke out in the Phase 2 of Hesheng Shihezi organic silicon project on June 8. Although the fire has not affected the company’s industrial-grade silicon production for the time being, metal silicon and polysilicon companies in Xinjiang are conducting safety inspections as June is the “safety inspection month”, which will affect the operating load. In addition, the shortage of power supply in Yunnan caused the local silicon plants to cut or suspend production in mid-May. Only three submerged arc furnaces were turned on in the province by the end of May, and operating rates in Yunnan dropped to zero in the first week of June. The optimistic time for the resumption of production during the flood season in Yunnan is expected to be postponed to around June 20.
The output released in May at Sichuan was lesser than expectations as most silicon plants resumed production at end-May, and the rising operating rates of some silicon plants in Guangxi, Guizhou and Hunan contributed to the increase slightly.
The arrival of the wet season in Yunnan, the resumed production of silicon plants in Sichuan, and the restoration of maintenance capacity in Xinjiang will jointly drive the increase in silicon metal output in June, which is expected to increase to around 230,000 mt. Operating rates at silicon metal plants in June will return to around 59%.