SHANGHAI, Jan 17 (SMM) - Statistics show that China's antimony ingot (including antimony ingot, converted crude antimony, cathode antimony, etc.) output in December, 2022 was 7,489.5 mt. The output has posted a 2-month win streak, though the growth rate in December slowed down significantly. On the one hand, it has something to with the fact that many manufacturers had to reduce their production on a shortage of raw materials and with more workers on the break at the end of the year. On the other hand, it is true that some producers were resuming their production in December, but at a slow pace. In particular, it is estimated that more than 20% of the output came from tollers that will not flow into the market, and the mines at home and abroad are thus able to hold their offers firm amid tight supply. For now, it seems that the shortage of antimony-based raw materials that has lasted for nearly two years will still extend. Although its persisting tight supply is having less impacts on the market sentiment, it still provides a strong support for the stability and even upward potential of antimony prices in the near future.
On the demand side, with further relaxation of Covid-19 control measures in China, the domestic and international trades are increasingly smooth. Especially, the transportation restriction relating to foreign trades will be scrapped. In this scenario, the demand for refined antimony is expected to increase significantly in the first quarter of 2023. In fact, the demand in the domestic market has already picked up recently, with trades still observed in the traditional off-season before the Chinese New Year holiday. At the same time, the inquiries for export orders have also risen palpably, and the quotations of some manufactures for export orders are also on the rise. It is forecast that the demand will advance more sharply in the wake of the holiday.
SMM estimates that China's refined antimony prices in the first quarter of 2023 will rise above 85,000 yuan/mt, higher than the peak of the previous year. The prices also have potential to hit 90,000 yuan/mt.