12th Rare Earth Summit

May 27-28, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

11th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 20-21, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

9th Magnesium Summit

April 15-16, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

13th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 25-26, 2021
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

6th World Manganese & Selenium Forum

May 21-22, 2018
Hainan Sanya, China

Interview with Bart Udeshi, Manager of BD Department of Metals Range

Bart Udeshi: A brief introduction to Indian silicon metal market
----Interview with Bart Udeshi, Manager of BD Department of Metals Range
Asian Metal: Good day, Mr. Bart Udeshi. Thanks for your time. Could you please first make a brief introduction of Metals Range and the metals that your company mainly deals with?
Bart: Metals Range is an International Trading House for Base Metals, Minor Metals, Scrap Metals and Ferro Alloys. Proprietor of this firm has been in this area of business for over 30 years. Vast experience in the field of Metals has enabled us to provide our clients with products that are procured in accordance to their specifications from top quality manufacturers from around the world. We trade various metals like Antimony, FeMo, FeNb, FeSi, FeW, Cadmium, Chromium, Mn, MoOx, Nckel, and Selenium etc.
Asian Metal: Would you please give us a brief introduction to the general economic situation in India?
Bart: India is the 2nd fastest growing major economy in the world. India has been averaging 8-9% growth in the last 10 years. Economists from around the world are predicting India to be the 3rd biggest economy in the world by 2020. This rapid growth has lead to a surge in the middle-class population, which has lead to increase in domestic demand for foods, consumer durables, automobiles, etc. This demand will only increase as more development and construction is carried out throughout the country.
Asian Metal: The current global economic environment seems unfavorable due to the European debt crisis and US debt downgrade. What about the situation that the metal industry is facing in India?
Bart: The current EU and American debt crisis has further lead to a fall in business confidence around the world. America and EU are still the biggest economy in the world. Due to this scenario, metal industry in India is facing a dip in demand and a temporary slowdown. Also due to inflationary pressure in Asia, the interest rates are very high as compared to EU and America which has further increased pressure. However India being a fast growing country, with increased fiscal spending in the field of infrastructure, domestic demand is still strong.
Asian Metal: Firstly, let’s talk about the silicon metal. As we know that most of the silicon metal in India are come from China. What about the consumption demand of silicon metal in India and the major fields? What’s your regular trading volume of silicon metal?
Bart: China is the largest producer of Silicon in the world and India imports nearly all its Silicon from China. India annual Silicon metal consumption is about 30000 mts a year. Silicon is mainly used in India in the Aluminum industry, however a very small quantity is also used in Silane chemicals and Stainless Steel. Solar Photovoltaic has a bright future and this will also lead to increased demand for Silicon. We trade in about 300-400 mts a month.
Asian Metal: Aluminum alloy industry is the major downstream industry of silicon metal in India. How about the situation of aluminum industry now? Would you please briefly introduce the major silicon metal users in India?
Bart: In India as automobile production, electrification and construction grow so will the demand for Aluminum Alloys. India's per capita consumption of aluminum stands very low compared to the per capita consumption of developed countries like US, Japan, etc. In India, the industries that require aluminum most include power, consumer durables, transportation, construction, etc. India is world's fifth largest aluminum producer with an aluminum production competence of around 2.7 million tonnes, accounting almost 5% of the total aluminum production in the world. Government expects Aluminum production to reach 5 million tonnes by 2015. Major Aluminum Alloy manufacturers in India are Balco, Nalco, Hindalco and Sterlite. There are also several other smaller manufacturers based all over India.
Asian Metal: How do you think about the supply and demand situation in the current silicon metal market? As far as I know, the demand for silicon metal in India kept weak recently. Moreover, there are some smuggled materials of silicon metal from Vietnam in Indian market now and the prices are much lower than importing from China directly. What influence do you think this will bring to the normal silicon metal market?
Bart: Demand and supply vary all the time for all industries as the situation evolves in the domestic and international markets. The volatility in the market is also affecting this situation. Demand currently for Silicon is very low due to Aluminum demand throughout the world. I understand that the domestic demand in China is also low for Silicon presently. As you rightly said, Vietnam has emerged as a cheap exporter of Silicon. The price difference between Chinese Silicon and Vietnam Silicon is over US$100. Most Indian and international buyers currently prefer buying material from Vietnam due to this large price difference. The market always buys from the cheapest source if the quality is good.
Asian Metal: Chinese silicon metal price soared from the last week of July as the operating rate reduced in South China due to the power rationing. Moreover, with the RMB appreciation, Chinese silicon metal export prices also keep increasing. How do you think about the recent Chinese silicon metal market? Do you have any plans to adding stocks in the near future?
Bart: Chinese Silicon prices fluctuate depending on domestic power supply as well as RMB. Since last month or so Silicon prices have risen due to depreciation of USD to record levels against RMB. This sudden jump in prices leads to further drop in demand. Once Chinese power situation improves and all factories start production again, I do expect prices to fall. I think current Silicon prices in China are a bit too optimistic compared to the international demand. We do plan to add stocks by mid September.
Asian Metal: How do you predict the silicon metal market in India in the near future?
Bart: Since India imports all its Silicon requirements, the demand for the same will keep on rising due to robust growth of Aluminum industry. India's demand for automobiles, electronics, etc, will keep rising due to growing affluent middle class, the country will keep spending on roads, ports, power, consumer goods etc. leading to increased demand for Silicon.
Asian Metal: Let’s talk about the market of some other metals that you are dealing with. Presently the antimony market is very quiet in China with the price of antimony ingot and trioxide declining slightly recently. Customers prefer to watch the market rather than make purchase due to unclear future market caused by the economic uncertainty. However, as the supply of antimony ore, the raw martial is insufficient in spot market, most market participants expect the market to warm up in September. How about the current demand for antimony in India now? How do you think about the future market?
Bart: Antimony market in China has weakened recently due to slowdown in demand. Producers are cautious due to uncertainty in the economic recovery grows. Buyers prefer to buy only what is needed and avoiding to keep additional stocks. Demand in India has also slowed down. September is when demand usually picks up, however the economic chaos might delay the recovery for Antimony. There is also an increase in availability of Antimony Alloy which is being refined in many countries. The future prices and availability of Antimony will depend on the supply of Antimony Ore. In the short term I expect prices of Antimony to remain stable.
Asian Metal: Do you have any selenium in hand at the moment? How about the current selenium supply situation in Europe now? Is the current demand for selenium in Indian market strong or not? The selenium price in Europe and China is dropping now. How do you predict the future market? Did you receive any inquiries for selenium from China recently?
Bart: Selenium prices have dropped from all time high seen earlier this year, however availability is still limited due to suppliers demanding a higher price which buyers are hesitant to pay in the hope of finding cheaper materials from traders/stockists. Until last year buyers could demand their preferable brand, however now any material of any origin is acceptable by most due to lack of availability. Selenium prices in China currently seem lower than the rest of the world. I think price of Selenium is bottoming out and will start rising by the end of the year. Recent inquiries from China show weak demand. There are constant inquiries from China for Selenium. Indian Selenium market is also very quiet at the moment. We do have some material available at present. It has become very difficult to take long term position due to further speculation of price variation.
Asian Metal: The Ferro Tungsten market moved downwards recently in China and Europe under the unfavorable economic environment on European debt crisis and US debt downgrade. How about the current Ferro Tungsten in India? We learned that there will be a big Ferro Tungsten smelter being built in India, will it bring any influences on the market demand and supply structure?
Bart: As with most metals, Ferro Tungsten demand is also very weak in India which again follows the global trend. The demand of Ferro Tungsten has always been low in July and August, however I see demand being low even after these months. There are already small scale Ferro Alloys producers in India who produce small quantities of 50/55% grade and we feel a smelter comes up in India it may cater more to the overseas market, as the Indian market is very small.
Asian Metal: As for Manganese metal, there is a rumor that China will impose the Mn briquette export tax, how do you think about this? Do the buyers of Mn in India adjust the purchasing plans?
Bart: India indeed imports Manganese metal from China. However unlike most metals, there is a steady demand for Manganese Metal. If China imposes 20% export duty on Manganese Brqts, it will temporarily effects demand. However just like Manganese Flakes and Lumps, material will be then be imported from other routes.
Asian Metal: Thanks for your sharing, Mr. Bart Udeshi. Wish a brighter future of Metals Range.
Bart: Thank you.