Despite 2012 declines in both volume and value, export prices increased over 7%.
China’s refractory materials production in 2012 fell 4.43% over the previous year to 28.1891 million tons, reportedly due to a slowdown in growth rates for downstream sectors like iron and steel, building materials, and glass, as well as the reduced demand for refractories in infrastructure construction. Magnesia bricks, magnesium carbon and alumina magnesia carbon, and siliceous brick dropped 15.94%, 8.45% and 8.37% year-over-year, respectively, according to the recent “Global and China Refractory Material Industry Report, 2013.” In terms of exports in 2012, both volume and value of refractory raw materials fell, but refractory products broke the 2 million ton mark again, climbing 4.4% year over year to 2.0397 million tons; export prices even increased by 7.08%.
With respect to the product, China has been promoting the development of high-quality, energy-efficient unshaped refractories. In 2012, the proportion of unshaped refractories in the total refractories production there exceeded 40%; compared with industrially advanced countries, however, the proportion is still lower.
Research and development of chrome-free refractories is also the focus of industry development. So far, several companies have made many successful attempts, followed by vigorous promotion.
According to the Opinions on Promoting the Healthy Development of Refractory Industry issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in February, China will continue to promote joint reorganization and enhance industrial concentration in the future. The country will form 2-3 internationally competitive enterprises and create a number of new industrialization demonstration bases, with industrial concentration of the top 10 companies reaching 25% by 2015 and up to 45% by 2020.
In addition, mergers and reorganizations among international refractory companies continue; by the end of this year, the world’s top 10 refractories enterprises will have conducted operations in China.
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