FOCUS: Surge in Chinese ferro-chrome output leaves ore, alloy markets softer

A surge in Chinese high-carbon ferro-chrome production last year led to a jump in buying interest for chrome ore, resulting in a significant build-up of ore inventories in the country that is dampening market sentiment.

At the same time, the increased output among Chinese ferro-chrome smelters is exceeding demand from the downstream stainless steel sector and is putting pressure on China’s market for imported alloy.
In 2019, a bullish outlook in China’s stainless sector led to a marked improvement in sentiment in the country’s ferro-chrome market, which in turn boosted demand for chrome ore amid expectations of greater ferro-alloy demand.
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 is an increase of 14% year on year from approximately 5.3 million tonnes in 2018.

This resulted in a jump in Chinese chrome ore imports; the country imported 15.9 million tonnes of chrome ore last year, an increase of 11% from the 14.3 million tonnes imported in 2018, according to...

Published

Jon Stibbs

Siyi Liu

February 28, 2020

18:05 GMT

London, Shanghai