For the Quarter Ending December 2023
The market situation of Metakaolin witnessed a bullish situation across the North American market during first half of fourth quarter of 2023 as input costs in the construction Sector in the United States witnessed a sharp increment.
Mortgage rates touched approximately 8% for a 30-year fixed term and 7% for a 15-year fixed term, according to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), leading to a subdued demand from the housing industry. The bullish trend was mainly attributed to well performing construction sector across the importing Mexican market, as nearshoring activities continued. Government funded construction activities were recorded to a healthy including the construction of a new airport and railway station and major automotive industries setting up manufacturing bases across Mexico. This consequently kept the prices of Metakaolin across the United States largely afloat.
US manufacturing activities also recorded a softer downturn in December which also disturbed the balance between demand and supply, keeping the market situation largely bullish. The secondary demand from importing Canadian market was also recorded to be low. Amidst the overall moderate demand during December 2023, weather conditions in the United States deteriorated, leading challenging conditions in transportation and logistics, further increasing lead times.
Metakaolin pricing in the APAC region witnessed a bullish market situation throughout the fourth quarter of 2023 mostly attributed to limited availability of feedstock kaolin clay. Firstly, the market experienced moderate supply levels due to limited mining activities caused by adverse weather conditions, particularly heavy rain, and snow in certain regions. This led to a decrease in the availability of the feedstock kaolin clay, impacting the overall supply of Metakaolin. Secondly, demand for Metakaolin remained moderate, primarily driven by the downstream ceramic industry. The festive season, such as the Mid-Autumn festival, boosted purchasing activities in this sector. However, demand from the construction industry was weak, as major developer firms across the APAC region faced financial difficulties and postponed acquisition of raw materials. Prices increased by approximately 5.2% in November 2023, driven by supply disruptions caused by bad weather and limited mining activities amidst a moderate demand from government funded activities and importing Southeast Asian market. However, prices plummeted by approximately 6% in December 2023 as the importing Southeast Asian market entered a post-festive season and experiences destocking activities driven by depreciating energy costs which deflated factory gate charges. In terms of price trends and seasonality, the price of Metakaolin in APAC region during the fourth quarter of 2023 remained relatively stable compared to the same quarter of the previous year. There was no significant change in the price percentage from the previous quarter. Additionally, the price comparison between the first and second half of the quarter showed a slight decrease of 3%. Overall, the Metakaolin market in the APAC region during the fourth quarter of 2023 was influenced by limited supply due to adverse weather conditions and moderate demand from the downstream ceramic industry. The price of Metakaolin in China at the end of the quarter was USD 36/MT FOB Shanghai.
In the fourth quarter of 2023, the Metakaolin market in Europe experienced some notable developments. Firstly, the limited availability of kaolin clay due to the closure of mines caused by heavy rains in Southern Germany impacted the supply of Metakaolin. This scarcity led to a slight increase in prices as manufacturers aimed to improve profit margins amidst recessionary conditions. Secondly, demand from the downstream construction sector remained subdued, with slow growth in overall industrial production and the ceramic industry. However, there was moderate demand from ongoing construction projects and government-funded initiatives. Lastly, the housing crisis in Europe, particularly in Germany, led to increased input costs, which further contributed to the upward trend in prices. During this quarter, there were no reported plant shutdowns in the Metakaolin market. In Germany, the largest market in the region, the price of Metakaolin increased by 2% in October. This was primarily due to the rising prices of LNG, which raised production costs and electricity charges. Additionally, demand from the construction sector remained moderate, supported by government-funded programs and the need for infrastructure refurbishment. The price of Metakaolin (MK0) FOB Hamburg in Germany for the fourth quarter of 2023 is USD 106/MT.
For the Quarter Ending September 2023
Prices of Metakaolin have witnessed a marginally bearish trend in North America as construction activities largely came to a halt due to increased mortgage rates, which were recorded to be approximately 8% in the third quarter of 2023. Moderate demand for the product from the repairment of existing roadways and bridges kept the depreciation of prices to a marginal level. The repairments in the existing water infrastructure and roadways, which commenced after the issuance of the warning by civil engineers of ARTBA, helped in the moderate consumption of the product. This consumption rate proved to be insufficient to improve the market situation for the prices of Metakaolin. Demand from the downstream construction also moderately improved as backlogs shrank, but increased interest rates have largely led to high electricity prices and factory gate charges, which increased input costs. With demand and consumption rates being largely low, existing inventories had to be handed out at discounted rates, which further compelled suppliers to reduce profit margins.
Prices of Metakaolin have increased by almost 5% in the Asian market as despite the construction industry across Southeast Asia being largely subdued. This was largely due to incessant flooding caused by severe disruptions in the supply chain system. Moreover, landslides caused by severe rains in the mountainous regions of East Asia continued to cause limited availability of kaolin. The bad weather throughout the first half of the quarter caused massive disruptions in the supply chain system with large parts of the region being underwater and large cities facing blackouts. In September, however, demand from the downstream ceramic industry improved as the Mid-Autumn festival improved purchasing sentiments across the region which compelled purchasing activities to take place. Towards the end of the third quarter of 2023, however purchasing sentiments retreated to being restrictive. Moreover, the construction industry across East Asia is likely to remain subdued as the winter season approaches. International offtakes from the prime East and Southeast Asian markets were also not high.
Prices of Metakaolin experienced a largely bullish situation in the European market, with prices of the product inclining by almost 4% throughout the third quarter of 2023. Demand from the downstream construction industry was mostly sluggish, with minimal demand originating from the maintenance of existing infrastructures and towards the improvement in the supply chain system, which was mostly transportation. Ongoing construction activities were largely limited to the refurbishment of existing offices and houses as residential permits declined. Increasing commercial activities largely led to the construction of new logistic centers and warehouses, which was also limited. Input costs such as electricity costs, increased as problems in the existing supply chain system resurfaced. Moreover, it was also observed that government expenditures in for hospitals and schools have taken hold which may also marginally have strengthened the demand for the product. However, the main reason for the appreciation in the prices was largely attributed to suppliers trying to improve their profit margins amidst prevailing recessionary conditions.
For the Quarter Ending June 2023
During the second quarter of 2023, the Metakaolin market in the United States witnessed a decline in prices. This decrease was primarily attributed to a drop in demand from downstream construction industries, which were grappling with a shortage of labour and the US bank crises following the failure of Silvergate Bank, Signature Bank, and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). This situation disrupted the availability of financing and lending options for construction projects. Construction companies typically rely on banks and financial institutions to secure loans and credit lines for funding their projects. With SVB's failure, there was a reduction in available credit and stricter lending standards, making it challenging for the construction industry to obtain the necessary capital for their projects. As a result, there was a potential for delays or cancellations in the demand for construction products. The decrease in demand for construction products directly impacted the prices of Metakaolin. In April 2023, the product prices remained stable primarily due to a balanced gap between demand and supply. However, in May and June, the value of Metakaolin experienced respective declines of approximately 2% and 1%. During the final two months of Q2 2023, the Bearish Market situation was primarily influenced by the smooth and cost-effective importation of Metakaolin from overseas. These imports further influenced the prevailing price trends.
The second quarter of 2023 witnessed a bearish sentiment in the Asian market for Metakaolin, with significant fluctuations in its price. In China, the price of Metakaolin experienced a decline, with decreases of approximately 7.9% and 2.9% in May and June, respectively. This decline in price was reflective of the overall decrease in the national average price of Metakaolin during this period. The market demand performance was not satisfactory, resulting in increased pressure on manufacturers' inventory. Additionally, the continuous decline in raw material prices contributed to a decrease in production costs, intensifying the pressure on manufacturers to stabilize prices. Consequently, the market maintained a downward trend. The main factor influencing the market conditions during this period was the prevalent rainy weather, which led to a decline in the operating rate of construction sites. As a result, market demand for Metakaolin experienced a decline, exacerbating manufacturers' inventory pressure and further driving down prices. However, in April 2023, the price of Metakaolin witnessed an increase of approximately 5.6% due to an improvement in demand from the construction sector. Similarly, in the Indian market, the price of Metakaolin experienced a decline of around 5.6% and 3% during the last two months of the second quarter. The decrease in price was attributed to a fall in market demand for Metakaolin during this period, along with unfavourable export conditions for manufacturers. The price drop of cement and other building materials further impacted manufacturers' confidence, resulting in increased inventory pressure. In an effort to alleviate this pressure, manufacturers sold the product at a cheaper rate. However, there was a slight increase in the product price by approximately 2% during the first month of the quarter in the Indian market. This increase was driven by improved demand from the domestic market, primarily due to the government's focus on the construction and infrastructure sector, leading to increased demand for construction goods. Overall, the second quarter of 2023 experienced a bearish sentiment in the Asian market for Metakaolin, with fluctuating prices influenced by market demand, raw material costs, and external factors such as weather conditions. Manufacturers faced challenges in stabilizing prices and managing inventory, but certain periods saw improvements in demand, particularly in response to government initiatives in the construction sector.
In the second quarter of 2023, the European Metakaolin market witnessed a downturn as product prices experienced a decline. Specifically in Germany, the prices of Metakaolin decreased by approximately -2%, 2%, and 4% in April, May, and June 2023, respectively. According to initial estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, seasonally adjusted production in the construction sector decreased by 0.4% in both the euro area and the EU when comparing April 2023 to March 2023. The primary reason for the pricing dynamics in the second quarter of 2023 was the low demand from the downstream construction industry. Additionally, macroeconomic factors such as high inflation negatively impacted consumer spending, further contributing to the market's bearish sentiment. The buying momentum from derivative sectors, particularly construction and consumer goods, significantly weakened as buyers prioritized maintaining minimal inventories and acquiring materials only when necessary. The strike by dock workers at the Port of Hamburg, Germany, which is the nation's busiest and the second busiest in Europe, also played a role in the decline of Metakaolin prices. This strike had an impact on the export of Metakaolin, as Europe mainly exports it to the USA.
For the Quarter Ending March 2023
During the initial two months of the first quarter of 2023, there was an increase in the price of Metakaolin. The primary reason for this price increase was the strong demand for the product from countries overseas, including France, Germany, and the UK. Meanwhile, the demand from the downstream construction industry remained stable during this period. However, in the third month of the quarter, the prices of Metakaolin experienced a decrease in the US market. This decline was attributed to the abundant availability of the product in the international market and the lower demand from the downstream construction industry. The construction industry in the region had a moderate performance during the first quarter of 2023 and was primarily affected by labor shortages and crises in US banks.
During the first quarter of 2023, the Asian Metakaolin market experienced mixed sentiment. In India, the price of the product saw a decline of approximately 9%, 6.5%, and 1.5% in January, February, and March 2023, respectively. This decrease in prices was primarily driven by the ample availability of the product coupled with lower demand in the Indian market. In contrast, China witnessed an increase in the price of Metakaolin during this period. The price rose by around 6% in January and 3% in March, while it remained stable in February. The demand for Metakaolin from overseas markets, particularly Southeast Asian countries, experienced growth as China, being a significant player in the global Metakaolin market, supplied Metakaolin to various countries, contributing to the increased demand from overseas. Overall, the Metakaolin market in Asia displayed varying trends during the first quarter of 2023, with India observing a decline in prices due to low domestic demand, while China experienced price increases and higher demand from international markets.
During Q1 of 2023, the construction sector in Europe witnessed a surge in demand for Metakaolin, despite the region maintaining a steady supply. This situation resulted in a price hike for Metakaolin in the European market throughout Q1. In Germany specifically, the price of Metakaolin experienced an increase of around 15%, with January and February of 2023 seeing a respective rise of 3%. This price escalation can be attributed to the growing demand for Metakaolin in the construction industry as construction activities gained momentum in Europe following the winter season. However, in March 2023, the price of Metakaolin decreased as the price of the product declined in the international market.