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    Chinese calcium silicon prices would keep declining in December
    ----Interview with Bei Liu
    General Manager
    Anyang Changxing Cast Steel Metallurgy Co., Ltd
    Anyang Changxing Cast Steel Metallurgy Co., Ltd. is located in Shuiye, Anyang County, covering an area of more than 19,000 square meters with more than 100 employees. The company has three refining electric arc furnaces, 12 medium frequency electric furnaces and one casting medium frequency electric furnace. The company established the long-term cooperation with Handan Hongrui metallurgy, Henan Yutai metallurgical materials and Jiyuan Iron and steel company for many years.

    Asian Metal: Thank you for joining us for the interview Mr. Liu, and please introduce your company briefly.

    Mr. Liu: Anyang Changxing Cast Steel Metallurgy Co., Ltd. is located in the north of Anyang County, covering an construction area of over 19,000 square meters, with more than 100 staff. Our company owns three refining electric arc furnaces, twelve medium frequency electric furnaces and one casting medium frequency electric furnace. We mainly produce deoxidizer such as SiBaCa and SiAlBaCa etc., inoculation and other special alloys, such as high carbon ferrochrome, medium carbon ferrochrome, low carbon ferrochrome, medium carbon ferromanganese, low carbon ferromanganese etc.

    Asian Metal: Calcium silicon is one of the raw materials of SiBaCa, and how do you see the calcium silicon supply situation and price trend in the past quarter?

    Mr. Liu: Due to the energy consumption restriction policy in China, the supply turned tight in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Shaanxi since March this year, and the price of calcium silicon restless increased during the past six months, especially in September. All of calcium silicon plants couldn't accept any price lower than RMB30,000/t (USD4,656/t) EXW D/P in late September, and the situation was that we could hardly get spot materials as most suppliers have no spot. The power supply restriction policy in September becomes escalated in Shaanxi and the major two producers in Shaanxi cut outputs or even stopped production. The price of calcium silicon 30-60 increased by around RMB15,000/t (USD2, 328/t) from early September to RMB30,000-33,000/t (USD4,656-5,152/t) EXW D/P at the end of September. We still have 60t of the material booked in August that hasn't been arranged shipment at the end of September. In July and August, most calcium silicon plants could maintain their prices stable for around two weeks, but they updated prices twice at least every week in September. We need to urge them frequently to make shipments because of the prolonged shipment cycle. Along with the obviously shrinking demand from steel mills, the tight supply situation was relieved to some degree for most of plants in late October, but the supply still keeps tight in October. My regular supplier only keep the operation rate around 50%, and prices of calcium silicon hover at RMB29,000-30,000/t (USD4,527-4,683/t) EXW D/P in late October. Along with the increasing supply from producers and decreasing demand from steel mills, calcium silicon 30-60mm prices went to to RMB22,000-23,000/t(USD3,447-3,603/t) EXW D/P at the end of November.

    Asian Metal:How many tons of calcium silicon can you consume every month? As a consumer, how do you asset the demand performance of calcium silicon in the past six months for your company?

    Mr. Liu: We mainly produce calcium silicon barium and other special alloys, and we usually could consume 200t a month. Calcium silicon barium is widely used as deoxidizer in steel mills. We cooperated with three steel mills in long term, and we got stable orders of calcium silicon barium from steel mills in the past six months, so our consumption of calcium silicon stands stable at around 200t every month. Since August, the soared prices of calcium silicon pushed calcium silicon barium prices up aggressively. More importantly, we can't get enough replenishment of raw material. So steel mill clients decreased purchase of calcium silicon barium and found alternatives. Consequently, our purchase amount of calcium silicon decreased to less than 100t in August and stopped production in September. On the one hand, we obey the governments' energy consumption reduction policy; on the other hand, we have to stop production due to heavy production cost but few orders in October. In November, we didn't resume calcium silicon barium production yet due to the poor demand from steel mills.

    Asian Metal: As Chinese steel mills are in the process of decreasing output under the power consumption policy, the total output of crude steel in 2021 could not be higher than last year. How do you see the calcium silicon price trend in the rest of 2021?

    Mr. Liu: Along with the upcoming winter Olympic Game, the crude steel output of steel mills in Hebei, Shanxi would decrease further. Additionally, calcium silicon plants started to have inventories accumulated and all supplier intend to adjust prices down to drive sales. Based on the oversupply, prices of calcium silicon in December would go down further. The current production cost of calcium silicon 30-60mm stands at RMB17,000-18,000/t (USD2,663-2,820/t), and the prices would go down by around another RMB2,000/t (USD313/t) in December.

    Asian Metal: Your company also exports calcium silicon, how about the current export price of calcium silicon? What's the overseas clients' purchase attitudes changed in October and September?

    Mr. Liu: As we consume calcium silicon, so we do export business as well based on our regular stocks at the beginning of this year, but we can't hold stocks now upon such high prices and big risk of price plunging-down. So we only do back-to-back business for the time being. The current export price of calcium silicon 30-60 hover at USD4,500/t FOB China with the validity for one day (30th Oct). The demand from overseas cored wire plants remained strong in August and they actively placed orders. While in September, We're not willing to accept orders even though oversea clients wanted to place orders as Chinese suppliers kept rising their prices and we couldn't fix prices with overseas client first. While prices in October softened but remained staying at high level, and most clients kept cautious about the price trend now. For November, most clients still keep waiting for the prices to go down further.

    Asian Metal: How do you see the calcium silicon export price trend in December?

    Mr. Liu: Normally we export 200tpm of calcium silicon, and the export market remains active. We could receive around ten inquiries every week, but only closed 1-2 deals as most clients kept cautious and delayed purchases upon the softening but high level prices. The export prices would go down further in December. However, given the solid demand from overseas steel mills, there will be a bunch of overseas purchases when Chinese prices turned stabilized late December or early Jan.

    Asian Metal: What's your next development step from the company?

    Mr. Liu: We will continue maintaining our long-term cooperation with our raw material suppliers and our clients, and put some endeavors to do export of our main products such as ferrochrome, ferromanganese ,calcium silicon barium, and other alloys.
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