Upward pressure on zirconium chemical prices during 2017
The price of zirconium chemicals and zirconium oxides is set to increase during 2017 due to the increase in raw material, energy and environmental costs.
While the majority of zircon sand comes from Australia and Africa, over 85% of zirconium chemicals, such and zirconium oxychloride, zirconium basic carbonate and zirconium oxide, are produced in China. From here the chemicals are either shipped to other parts of the world for further refining or they are converted to added value products in China.
While there has only been a slight increase in zircon sand pricing over the last year, around US$ 100/mt, it is the increased cost of other chemicals, such as NaOH and HCL, used in converting the zircon to various chemicals that has led to the upward pressure on pricing. The cost of NaOH has increased by more than 50% on the back of increased demand from the alumina industry and also the result of some factories being closed on environmental grounds. Following the G20 summit in Hangzhou last September, there has been a greater focus on pollution and environmental controls in China. The closure of some factories has led to a tightness in supply of some chemicals and therefore price increases.
In addition to an increase in raw material costs, the cost of both coal and electricity in China has been increasing.
All the above factors mean we are likely to see zirconium chemical price increases of 10-20% during 2017.
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Date : 05-01-2017