INDUSTRIAL METALS / MINERALS
Manganese ore imports drop in China
Steelmakers in China are seeing falling orders because of the tight situation in the construction and the automobile sector, leading to a decline in the import of manganese ore.
Posted: Monday , 08 Oct 2012
MUMBAI (MINEWEB) -
China's major steel mill Wuhan Iron and Steel has reportedly postponed its monthly tender for manganese alloys by two weeks due to a falloff in steel orders. Wuhan bought 5,000 metric tonnes of silico manganese at its last tender, and the amount requested under the next tender is forecast to be halved.
Though there are some producers who were waiting to raise the price, demand has dwindled, with sales of 200 series stainless steel products dropping sharply. This, in turn has caused a lower demand for manganese and pressure on the metal's price.
Manganese is used in relatively high proportions to make 200 series stainless steel. This grade of stainless steel has emerged in the last few years, particularly in China, in response to high nickel prices and has gradually grown as a proportion for the stainless steel market.
There is another factor at play. Reports indicate that the recently introduced wet season special power rates in Guangxi may serve as an additional pressure over the price. Weak demand for the 200's has forced mills to keep their output low.
According to ferro-alloys.com, China imported 8,062,343 metric tonnes (mt) of manganese ore in the first eight months of 2012 as compared to 8,767,377 mt in the same 2011 period. The major suppliers in the first eight months of 2012 were Australia at 2,747,548 mt (in 2011 it was 3,064,563 mt), South Africa at 2,327,864 mt (2011 - 2,173,686 mt), Ghana at 725,352 mt (2011 - 676,938 mt), Gabon at 587,716 mt (2011 - 961,027 mt), Brazil at 570,171 mt (2011 - 378,603 mt), Malaysia at 514,508 mt (2011 - 452,827 mt) and Burma at 177,200 mt (2011- 483,432 mt).
In August, imports were pegged at 1,198,164 mt versus 1,256,507 mt. Exports was down too. Data from China's Customs shows exports of manganese metals during July 2012 were 8,788.9 tonnes, down by 36.2% month on month from 13,760.2 tonnes exported in June 2012.
The exports in the first seven months of 2012 were 83,015.3 tonnes, down by 20.96% year on year from 105,027.3 tonnes exported during the same period of 2011.
In China, the total manganese basic reserve is estimated to be around 234 million tonnes. Among them, Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Chongqing in southwest China and Liaoning in northeast China own basic reserve of 199 million tonnes, 85% of the national total.
Since 2006, as a result of the development of the country's steel industry, China's domestic manganese ore production has enjoyed a double digit growth.
Data from SMM (Shanghai Metals Market) shows that total manganese consumption in China in 2009 was 7.1 million tonnes (excluding export), and 93% was consumed by the steel industry (including 96% of imported manganese and 84% of domestic manganese).
Although China's domestic manganese ore production has been much more than imported manganese ore, its manganese content was less than import due to the poor manganese grade.
In August this year, manganese ore and concentrate imports totalled 1,198,164 mt, an increase of 17.7% from July, but 4.6% lower year-on-year, according to Chinese customs figures.