Chrome ore and ferrochrome global output decreased marginally in 2015, which is a clear indication that the industry is going through a tough phase, with some major players facing financial difficulty.
This is according to International Chromium Development Association (ICDA)market research analyst Loïc Racon, who was addressing about 135 global delegates – along with several other presenters – at the ICDA’s 2016 members meeting which took place in Tirana, Albania, last month.
However, he noted that chrome ore and ferrochrome imports in China had increased in the past year. Natural resources consultancy Bryanston Resources project leader Roderick van Losenoord highlighted in his presentation that the US dollar “is [ continuing] and will” continue to be the driving currency for ferrochrome, as various restrictions prevent China’s yuan from taking over.
He said that the strong US dollar benefited ferrochrome producers’ margins; however, he pointed out that the ferrochrome price drop had erased most related gains. “Consequently, ferrochrome production has been under significant pricing pressure. Currency volatility is likely to persist amid uncertainty after years of low interest rate policies by various central banks,” stated Van Losenoord.
Ferroalloys consultancy Alloy Consult managing consultant Kevin Fowkes emphasised in his address to the conference that electricity was a major component of ferrochrome production costs and its consumption was driven principally by furnace technology and the processes employed.
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