Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Given the current export rate, the ferrosilicon (FeSi) industries in the country are looking into yet another year of success.

As of yesterday morning, the export price was between Nu 135,000 to 150,000 per metric tonne (MT). It is expected to increase to Nu 200,000 anytime now.

Back in November and December of 2019, the ferrosilicon price was at Nu 61,500 per MT. The price rose to Nu 89,000 when the border gates were first sealed on March 23, 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Three months later it slumped to Nu 77,000 per MT between July and August 2020.

However, the export price went up at Nu 100,000 to Nu 107,000 in January 2021. In October 2021, the price reached a record high of Nu 280,000 per MT, something that was unseen in the past.

It has dropped since but expected to climb up even more than last year’s, sources say.

“Last year, it was something out of the world in terms of price,” a manager with one of the Pasakha industries said.

The increase in the price was attributed to the increase in demand in the Indian market. There was also an increase in the number of mega-projects in India, which then increased the demand for steel and created more demand for ferrosilicon.

Considering the market and rate, the manager said ferrosilicon industries have contributed huge in terms of Indian rupee for the government in this pandemic time, as close to 99 percent ferrosilicon market is INR driven.

India imports ferrosilicon mainly from Bhutan, China, Norway, and Russia. It also has its own manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the price of FeSi is expected to climb up mainly because of the market that has been impacted globally due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Russia is considered the second largest ferrosilicon producer in the world after China.

The western sanctions on Russia due to this ongoing crisis have already changed the global FeSi transactions and India has reportedly seen an increase in price.

In Bhutan, ferrosilicon has remained the topmost exported commodity. In the first quarter of this year (January to March), as per the Bhutan Trade Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Bhutan exported ferrosilicon worth Nu 2.88 billion (B). During the second quarter (April to June), ferrosilicon worth Nu 3.94B was exported from the country.

In 2020, ferrosilicon was the top exported commodity with a value of Nu 7.44B. In 2019 and 2018, Bhutan exported ferrosilicon worth Nu 9.78B and Nu 13.05B respectively.

There are eight ferrosilicon industries in Pasakha industrial estate. Recently, Bhutan Ferro Alloys Limited (BFAL), one of the ferrosilicon industries in Pasakha industrial estate, declared a 300 percent dividend for the year 2021.