Monthly review: Electric furnace steel operating rate remains high in May, graphite electrode prices continue to rise

Monthly review: Electric furnace steel operating rate remains high in May, graphite electrode prices continue to rise

In May, the domestic graphite electrode market price continued to maintain a steady and rising trend. The supply of medium and small graphite electrodes was tight, and the price continued to rise.

Market aspect

Affected by the imminent completion of maintenance and repairs in Fushun and Dagang, Daqing petroleum coke has experienced "four consecutive drops", which has caused a lot of heated discussions in the market, and everyone's mentality has begun to change slightly.

Some graphite electrode manufacturers found that the prices of graphite electrodes of individual manufacturers were slightly loosened during the bidding in mid-to-late May. However, because the domestic needle coke price remains stable and the supply of overseas coke will be tight in the later period, many leading graphite electrode manufacturers believe that the price of the later electrode will remain the status quo or slightly fluctuate. After all, the high-priced raw materials are still on the production line. Production, electrodes will still be affected by costs in the near future, it is unlikely that prices will fall.

As of May 27, the mainstream price of UHP450mm specifications with 30% needle coke content on the market is 205,000-2.1 million yuan/ton, an increase of 0.05-0.1 million yuan/ton from the previous month, and the mainstream price of UHP600mm specifications remains at 25,000-27,000 yuan. /Ton, the price of UHP700mm is maintained at 30000-32000 yuan/ton.

In terms of downstream demand, domestic steel prices continued to rise after May Day, and some electric furnace steel plants made nearly 800 yuan per ton of steel per ton. On May 14th, Tangshan and other ministries and commissions jointly interviewed steel mills in the city on steel prices. The domestic steel prices fell sharply across the board. So far, taking Jiangsu independent electric furnaces as an example, their profits are still 176 yuan/ton. Even in June, the demand for steel turns weak, but as long as the electric furnace steel mills are profitable, the operating rate will remain at a relatively high level. Judging from the actual situation, the enthusiasm of steel mills for purchasing was generally acceptable in May, and some steel mills began to digest the inventory phenomenon of previous purchases.

Export aspect

The export volume of electrodes in April was 30,200 tons, a year-on-year increase of 57.3%. With the economic recovery of major exporting countries such as Europe this year, we have learned from major electrode manufacturers and traders that the situation of domestic electrode export orders from May to June is also good, and the export situation is still optimistic.

Raw materials

The ex-factory price of raw petroleum coke was continuously lowered in May. As of the end of the month, Daqing Petrochemical 1#A petroleum coke was quoted at 3,200 yuan/ton, down 2,000 yuan/ton from April; Fushun Petrochemical’s coking plant resumed production on May 24, Fushun Petrochemical 1#A petroleum coke quoted at 3400 yuan/ton, down 2300 yuan/ton. Low-sulfur calcined coke companies are currently quoting 4200-4400 yuan/ton due to the continuous decline in the market price of raw materials, which is 1200-1400 yuan/ton lower than in April. The main reason for the rapid price drop is that Fushun will soon be overhauled in June, the market supply will increase in the later period, and the price increase in the early period is too large, and there is a reasonable return.

Domestic needle coke prices were relatively strong in May. At present, the mainstream prices of domestic coal-based and oil-based products are 8500-11000 yuan/ton. In addition, in the later period, due to the fact that overseas coal-based companies have entered a concentrated maintenance period and an oil-based company's production abnormalities, it is expected that prices will remain stable and small at the end of the second quarter.

Steel plant aspect

In May, domestic steel prices fluctuated sharply. The official website of the National Development and Reform Commission issued a document on May 24 that on the morning of the 23rd, five ministries and commissions including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration for Market Supervision, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission held a meeting to jointly discuss iron ore, steel, copper, and aluminum. And other key enterprises with strong market influence in the industry.

On May 14th, Tangshan and other ministries and commissions jointly interviewed steel mills in the city on steel prices. Domestic steel prices have fallen sharply across the board. The downstream wait-and-see atmosphere is still strong. A small number of middlemen tentatively bought bottoms, and overall transactions were flat. The scrap market continues to make up for the decline. It is expected that the decline in scrap prices will gradually slow down, and there is room for adjustment at most 100-150 yuan, and the profits of electric furnace steel plants will continue to narrow. Taking Jiangsu electric furnace as an example, the profit of electric furnace steel has narrowed from over 800 yuan/ton after May Day to 213 yuan/ton.

Post time: Jun-02-2021