FOCUS: Oversupplied Chinese FeCr market faces new challenge in coronavirus

Chinese smelters increased their high-carbon ferro-chrome production over the past year to an unprecedented level that exceeded demand from downstream stainless steel mills, putting pressure on both alloy and chrome ore prices.

But with the new year has come a new challenge in the form of a deadly coronavirus, that threatens to exacerbate the weakness in chrome markets by disrupting logistics and denting demand for ore and alloys.
Growing supply of high-carbon alloy
While China does not publish official figures regarding its production of high-carbon ferro-chrome, market participants told Fastmarkets that the country produced around 6 million tonnes of the material last year, which marks an increase of 14% year on year from the approximate 5.3 million tonnes produced in 2018.
The increase is said to be driven by bullish sentiment in the stainless steel market, new government policies as well as expanded capacity at some large-sized smelters.
“The steady increase in stainless steel output over the past several years has led to positive momentum in the production of its raw material: high-carbon ferro-chrome,” a smelter source said.

“2019 was the...

Published

Siyi Liu

February 13, 2020

05:47 GMT

Shanghai