China leads in global sulphur imports, with a 28%-share of the total supplies. This year, Chinese sulphur purchases from abroad have shown a sign of recovery after a deep drop last year. In the first four months of 2021, Chinese imports accounted for $455M against $164M in the same period of 2020. Chinese sulphur purchases fell from $1.3B in 2019 to $0.6B in 2020. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Iran constitute the largest suppliers to China, with a 49%-share of total import value.
In September 2021, the price for Guinean bauxite in China reached its highest point in 18 months. The military coup in Guinea has caused concerns that shipments from the country will decrease and instigated the spike. Guinea is the world’s primary bauxite supplier, making up more than half of all exports. In case there is a decline in supply from Guinea, China may expand imports from Australia. An increase in bauxite prices could lead to costs for aluminum on China’s domestic market to grow as the country imports nearly 57% of the bauxite it consumes.
Global imports of bitumen and asphalt went down by -15% y-o-y to 2.1M tonnes in 2020. In value terms, imports dropped to $918M. America holds leadership in global imports of bitumen and asphalt. The U.S., Romania, China and France were among the few countries that managed to ramp up import supplies. The average bitumen and asphalt import price grew by +15% y-o-y to $427 per tonne in 2020. Indonesia dominates the Chinese imports, while Greece, Canada and Spain provide the bulk of bitumen and asphalt imported to the U.S.
Global gypsum and anhydrite imports fell from $991M in 2019 to $901M in 2020. The U.S., India, Japan, Indonesia and the UK constitute the largest importers of gypsum and anhydride worldwide. In 2020, these five countries saw significant drops in import volume. China, the Netherlands and Sweden were among the few countries that managed to increase their imports. In 2020, the average gypsum and anhydrite import price grew by +6% against the previous year.
In 2020, global exports of chromium ores and concentrates reduced sharply by -10.2% y-o-y to 16M tonnes. China, the major importer of chromium ores and concentrates, comprises over 70% of the total global imports. In Q1 2021, shipments to the country stood at a level slightly lower than in the same period of 2020. South Africa remains the largest exporter worldwide, accounting for 79% of the total global exports.
Feldspar exports from Turkey soared in the first half of this year, rising by 43% against the same period of 2020. The country remains the largest feldspar exporter, accounting for 63% of the total global exports. India and China continue to increase feldspar sales abroad. The average feldspar export price grew by +2.4% compared to the previous year. In 2020, Spain and Italy remain the major importers of this product, with a combined 53%-share of the global imports.
Tin prices rose to record levels in response to high demand from the electronics industry and a severe supply shortage on the market. The deficit has been driven on by pandemic-related decreases in mining output in 2020, the shipping container crisis and a drop in exports due to supply-chain disruptions. Prices are forecast to fall only in 2022 thanks to ramped-up mining output and supply and demand returning to equilibrium.
In 2020, the global baryte market fell by 15%, hampered by a severe decline seen in the oil industry, which currently consumes 80% of the total baryte output. India remained the only country to maintain 2019 production figures. While the oil industry is set to operate at minimum production levels in the medium term, alternative chemical, coating, and construction baryte applications may emerge as market drivers.
The European peat market is entering a downward trend against the targeted regulation strategy to cut peat output and consumption. The EU is committed to protecting the peat deposits, as they naturally absorb greenhouse gases. Alternatives to peat are increasingly being used in agriculture and other areas, such as energy and wastewater treatment.