A significant share of the onus to serve the global Graphite Electrode export markets seems to have now fallen on India; after China reducing its production to guard the atmosphere from the pollution emanating during the electrode manufacture—creating global supply tightness.
The exports of the electrodes from India almost doubled during the Jan-Oct’17 period on year-on-year. During the first ten months of 2017, exports of graphite electrode from India grew by 49.2% to 64,379 MT from the exports of 43,146 MT in the Jan-Oct’16 period, an analysis of the trade data shows.
|India Graphite Electrode Export|
|S.No.||Importing Country||2017 (Jan-Oct)||2016 (Jan-Oct)||Change (%)||2016|
|10||United Arab Emirates||2,187||1,485||47||1,818|
Quantity in MnT
Source: DGFT, Govt of India
Supply tightness in China-The main driver for the escalating exports from India is the production capacity cut in China, where 50% of the capacity has been cut to curb atmospheric pollution. Following the capacity cut, 250,000 MT of the electrode capacity in China went off-line.
The fall-out: China has turned into a net importer from an exporter, forcing the global importers to look towards alternate markets, such as India.
Indian Graphite Electrode Market – The Indian Graphite Electrode market is monopolistic, with only two players—Graphite India Limited and HEG Limited—dominating the scene. Both the producers cumulatively bear an installed capacity of around 180,000 MT.
Pricing Scenario – The production cut in China has led to the apparent consequence—price upsurge in global markets. Simultaneously, the shortage of Needle Coke, a vital ingredient for the electrode manufacture, has also been entailing massive price rise.
Needle Coke prices in the international markets have reached around USD 3,200/MT from around USD 450/MT within a span of just twelve months, registering a record rise of 611%. With the interplay of these factors, the Graphite Electrode prices have multiplied by four times during the course of the last year.
In India itself, the electrode prices have gone up to around INR 900-1,200/KG—taking a toll on the native steel and aluminum producers in the country.
Imports In India
The surging electrode exports from India have almost dried up the supplies for the domestic market which became a cause of concern for the Indian users, who were left with no other options but to import from the foreign markets.
During the Jan-Oct’17 period, 2,949 MT of the electrodes was imported in India, according to the DGFT data. The import volume was however trailed behind the import of 4,076 MT in the corresponding period of 2016 by 27.6%.
The Indian importers of the electrodes are also being constrained by the imposition of Anti Dumping Duty on the imports. With the domestic supply crunch playing havoc among the Indian Graphite Electrode users, the Alloy Steel Producers Association of India (ASPA) requested the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping Duty to lift the prevailing Anti-Dumping Duty.
Also, in a proactive act to the electrode users in the country, the Steel Ministry questioned the Indian Graphite Electrode manufacturers on the factors behind the soaring prices, subsequently, the Ministry proposed to the Finance Ministry to impose an Export Duty of 30% on the electrode exports from the country. Presumably, the decision of lifting the Anti Dumping Duty in place might be considered by Feb’18.