IRON and STEEL
Bearish sentiments in China’s graphite electrodes market continued this week amid drop in the country’s domestic steel prices. The tepid downstream demand is taking toll upon China’s GE market and few of the EAF manufacturers have stalled their production resulting in plunge in GE demand and its prices (especially that of non-UHP grade electrodes and small sized electrodes).
As per the market sources, the market for large sized UHP grade GE of size 600-700mm is relatively active with high export orders keeping its prices stable. On the other hand, in case of ordinary power and high power grade electrodes, prices continue to fall.
However, an important piece of information that SteelMint has heard is that the inventory of non-UHP grade GE that was piled up with the manufacturers over past few months and have resulted in acute demand-supply imbalance have been sold off due to its steady consumption and production restrictions by the electrodes manufacturers. Apart from this, the GE plants that were undergoing capacity additions are almost done with their expansion work and are expected to put into operations by the end of the ongoing year.
The prices of UHP grade electrodes of size 450mm are heard to be in the range of RMB 13,000 – 17,000/MT and that of 600mm are in the range of RMB 44,000 – 60,000/MT. In terms of needle coke, the domestic needle coke market price remained stable and are heard to be around RMB 18,000 – 22,000/MT.
In the near term, the outlook for ordinary-power and high power grade electrodes remains weak and as the downstream demand remains subdued, the market consumption of the same is anticipated to remain low. With the release of new GE capacities, any support for prices is unlikely in the subsequent period. The ultra-high power grade electrodes market is relatively active, and the transaction situation is relatively good. The overall market sentiments are not affected and the transaction prices are expected to remain stable.