Graphite Prices Stable into Q113 Jan 2010 • by Natalie Aster
Graphite prices remain firm going into 2010 on continued weak market conditions, with prices still lagging well behind the shortage-driven boom period of late 2008.
One industry source estimated that graphite sales were down by 50% in the refractories sector in 2009 compared to the previous year.
However smaller graphite markets, such as batteries, carbon brushes, lubricants and friction brake pads, were seen to have fared better. But the source estimated that these were also hit in 2009, with sales down by a more moderate 20% over the year, compared with 2008.
In 2010, producers are confident that there will be a moderate recovery in sales, particularly in the more niche sectors.
One source is already putting higher prices forward for higher grade, 94-97% C, medium and large flake graphite in Europe, with levels of $1,350-1,450/tonne, CIF UK port for large flake and $1,150-1,250/tonne for medium flake, CIF European port.
Other indications are that sales are still in the $1,150-1,300/tonne for large flake, and $900-1,100/tonne for medium, same basis. Overall, prices look to maintain their present levels, and are predicted to remain steady over the next couple of months.
In 2008 China, the world’s leading graphite supplier, placed export taxes of 20% and VAT of 17% on flake graphite and processed more graphite domestically, which constrained supply.
As 2009 unfolded it became clear that markets for graphite had frozen, particularly the main markets of refractories and foundries, linked to the steel industry.
Source: Industrial Minerals
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