ferrochrome and chrome ore imports rose in March, but
theyre likely to decline in April as prices in the
domestic market fall.
Inbound shipments of high-carbon
ferrochrome totaled 157,126 tonnes last month, up 19.4 percent
from February but down 6.8 percent from March last year,
according to Chinese customs data. March imports of 956,754
tonnes of chrome ores and concentrates were up 29.1 percent
from the previous month and 26.1 percent higher than a year
"These cargoes were booked in
late January or early February during the period of winter
restocking by steel mills," a Shanghai-based analyst said. "I
expect imports this month will be lower."
Chinese stainless steel mills
sharply reduced their domestic purchase prices for ferrochrome
in late March and April, leaving the Chinese market isolated
from international markets.
Spot prices of high-carbon
ferrochrome were between 7,000 and 7,100 yuan per tonne,
equivalent to 84 to 86 cents per pound of chrome, at the end of
last week, well below the Metal Bulletin charge chrome
index of 92 cents.
Given the huge price difference,
traders and importers have suspended purchases of imported
material over the past three weeks.
South Africa was the top
exporter of ferrochrome to China in March, supplying 73,775
tonnes, up 22.8 percent from the previous month but down 36.1
percent from a year earlier. South Africa also was the largest
supplier of chrome ore, shipping 497,108 tonnes to China last
month, up 31.1 percent from February and 22.2 percent from
Kazakhstan was the second-largest supplier of ferrochrome
and chrome ore to China in March.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister
publication Metal Bulletin.