Secondary aluminium alloy manufacturers in India fear scarcity of silicon may affect the production of alloys. Novel Coronavirus (nCov) related shutdown in China has disrupted shipments to Indian domestic markets causing shortage of silicon.
Even before the outbreak of nCov in China, shipments of the metalloid were temporary on hold due to the Lunar New Year holidays in the country. Silicon is used an alloying agent by secondary alloy manufacturers to increase strength of aluminium.
Secondary aluminium manufacturers from the eastern state of West Bengal have been facing silicon scarcity for the last three days. A manufacturer in Mumbai added that 441 and 553 grades of silicon are being sold at Rs158,000/mt($2,218.77/mt) and Rs154,000/mt ($2162.69/mt), respectively. These grades are used in LM6 and ADC 12 alloys.
Grade 441 silicon was priced at Rs128,000/mt and silicon grade 553 was priced at Rs118,000/mt a week ago. Alloy makers speculated if the situation persists, prices may rise to Rs200,000/mt in the near term.
Chinese traders offered 2202 grade silicon at $1,900/mt cif Nava Sheva on Wednesday, up from $1,550/mt cif Nava Sheva on Jan 17. The grade is used in A365.2 aluminium alloy.
Manufacturers from Rajasthan and Mumbai have booked containers from China but are unsure about the time frame of these shipments leaving Chinese shores. Booked containers could be shipped only by Feb end, traders informed Davis Index. Once dispatched it takes a month for the material to reach end consumer, said an alloy manufacturer.
Few silicon traders selling 441 and 553 grades said their Chinese counterparts are yet to revert with offers. In absence of response from China, they are trying to source Russian origin silicon from Europe to tide over the crisis.
India imported 50,467mt of silicon in Jan-Nov 2019 period, from 62,089mt in the prior-year period. Of the total, India imported 40,993 mt or 81.23pc of silicon from China. The imports of silicon from China in 2018 were 51,826mt, 83.47pc of the total.