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2016 was a year of mixed results for the chrome and ferrochrome industries, with clear world regional output disparities, a rise in ferrochrome production and a decrease for chrome ore.
Global chrome ore production contracted to 29.015 Mt last year, decreasing by 2.3% in comparison with the year 2015, amid production cuts in major chrome-producing regions. South Africa was affected by low prices and certain companies stopped their operations, taking some time to reopen after prices rebounded, leading to production being down 5.7%. The situation was similar in Turkey, where production fell 21% in 2016 due to businesses closing their mines temporarily amid low prices. Kazakhstan production was relatively stable; decreasing only 1.2% in 2016 due to some safety checks in the first half of 2016. Notably, Asian output driven by India was up by 22.1% after an increase in demand from local ferrochrome producers and the Indian government decision to push to reopen some mines.
Global ferrochrome output on the other hand was up 2.7% from 2015, reaching 11.8 Mt, it’s highest point since 2014. China remained the first producer of ferrochrome with an historical high of 4.70 Mt produced after stainless steel mills increased their production due to growing domestic demand and, wary of lacking ferrochrome input, raised domestic prices to encourage producers to increase their volumes. The price raise and sharp increase in ferrochrome demand from Chinese producers also boosted South African production in Q4. However South African yearly production was down 5.7% from 2015, reaching 3.59 Mt, due to companies being put in business rescue and taking some time to resume production following being acquired. Indian production was up by 22.2% in response to higher domestic chrome availability in 2016, driven by the increase in chrome ore production.

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