SHANGHAI, Mar 17 (SMM) - Silicon metal prices fell rapidly this week. As of March 17, the prices of standard #553 silicon metal in east China lost 600 yuan/mt on a weekly basis to 16,200-16,400 yuan/mt, those of above-standard #553 silicon metal dropped 350 yuan/mt to 16,700-16,900 yuan/mt, those of #421 silicon metal in Kunming fell 900 yuan/mt to 17,000-17,300 yuan/mt, and those of #3303 silicon metal fell 900 yuan/mt to 17,000-17,200 yuan/mt. The prices of high-grade silicon in Yunnan slumped amid the thin transactions, especially when the high inventory of silicon metal plants failed to drop on deserted inquiries. As such, traders in Kunming significantly lowered their prices and some lowered their prices to 16,800 yuan/mt.
High operating rates of polysilicon enterprises and the restocking demand from silicon metal powder processing enterprises drove up the demand for silicon metal.
The operating rates of aluminium alloy enterprises were stable as the weak demand from automobile sector failed to provide support for aluminium alloy orders. As such, aluminium alloy enterprises mainly purchased silicon metal as needed and intended to lower their prices.
The operating rates of silicone enterprises dropped slightly to about 80%. Two to three monomer enterprises have maintenance plans in late March, hence the operating rates of silicone plants may drop to around 75% by the end of March. The DMC prices have dropped to 16,200-17,200 yuan/mt, which weighed on the monomer enterprises.
The spot prices of silicon metal hit the lowest point since early June in 2022. However, the downstream enterprises and traders were still unwilling to restock amid the pessimistic sentiment. Although the transactions of high-grade silicon increased in light of the sharp price cut, the high inventory pressure did not alleviate as downstream demand failed to increase sharply. Coupled with the weak macro front, silicon metal prices are unlikely to rebound in the short term. As such, some silicon metal companies may either reduce or stop production under cost pressure.
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