China's silicon metal exports for 2014 are expected to be slightly above 800,000 mt, up from 600,000-700,000 mt projected earlier in the year, an analyst from state-owned nonferrous metals information provider Beijing Antaike said Friday.
The country exported 704,000 mt of silicon metal in 2013, up 47.6% from 2012, according to General Administration of Customs data.
China exported around 390,000 mt of silicon metal in the first half of 2014, up 27% year on year.
"Silicon metal exports so far this year have been stronger than expected due to robust demand from Asian countries. Demand from South Korea is especially strong this year, as the country needs more silicon metal to produce polycrystalline silicon," the Antaike analyst said, adding that silicon metal exports to South Korea accounted for around 20% of China's total exports.
Polycrystalline silicon can be used in semiconductor and solar power generating applications.
Antaike had earlier forecast China's silicon metal output will increase around 5% year on year to 1.52 million mt in 2014. The country produced 1.45 million mt of silicon metal in 2013.
Latest customs statistics showed China produced around 700,000 mt of silicon metal in H1 2014, up 16.7% year on year. Expected higher output in 2014 is mainly due to capacity expansion in China's Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia regions.
"Silicon metal output in China has been strong this year, supported by better-than-expected demand," he said.
According to Antaike estimates, China's silicon metal consumption is expected to reach around 750,000-800,000 mt in 2014.
China is the world's largest producer of silicon metal.