China’s March germanium, gallium exports yet to recover year-ago level

By Thomson Reuters Apr 20, 2024 | 12:34 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s exports of gallium and germanium products in March declined from year-ago levels, customs data showed on Saturday, underlining the impact of export controls in place since last August.

China announced in early July 2023 it would impose restrictions on exports of eight gallium and six germanium products from Aug. 1, amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington over access to materials used in making high-tech microchips.

The world’s largest germanium producer shipped abroad 3.21 metric tons of wrought and unwrought germanium products in March, down 31.8% from 4.7 tons in March 2023, the data showed. The volume was 16% higher than 2.76 tons shipped out in February.

The March volume brings the total in the first quarter of 2024 to 6.92 tons, 62.8% lower than 18.6 tons over the same period in 2023.

Meanwhile, China exported 1.21 tons of wrought and unwrought gallium products last month, down 81.3% from 6.48 tons in the same month in 2023. The March volume was 1.2% higher than 1.2 tons exported in February.

It shipped out a total of 3.97 tons of wrought and unwrought gallium products in the January-March period, down 74.1% from the same period a year before.

Lower exports in the first quarter, however, have not soured domestic prices as improved demand, tight raw materials supply, and growing speculative buying lent support, said analysts.

China’s spot price of germanium ingot stood at 9,650 yuan ($1,332.82) per kg on April 19, a rise of 2.7% so far this year and 2.1% higher from last July.

The spot price of gallium metal came in at 2,195 yuan per kg on the same day, an increase of 14.6% so far this year and a rise of 31% since last July.

($1 = 7.2403 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Amy Lv and Andrew Hayley. Editing by Jane Merriman)