Manganese ore prices increased on Friday October 19, after Chinese buyers entered the market and official statistics recorded falling inventory levels.

Metal Bulletin's manganese ore index for 44-46% material cif Tianjin rose to $4.98 per mtu from $4.91 per mtu on Friday October 12.

Metal Bulletin's manganese ore index for 38% material, fob South Africa rose to $3.88 per mtu from $3.77 per mtu, compared with Friday October 5.

Prices had fallen the previous week due to manganese alloys production cuts in India but the market turned around within days.

Manganese ore inventories in China have fallen to their lowest level since May 2010, Metal Bulletin reported on October 16.

Australian ore is particularly tight and Gabonese material is not plentiful, market participants said.

“The surprise, which certainly happened last week, was that China actually started to buy and we had no trouble placing our ore,” the source said.

“We’ve seen a healthier Chinese market in which customers are not afraid of ordering and buying ore,” one supplier to China said.

Most market participants said they are still cautious about the outlook for ore prices particularly as ferro-alloy demand remains weak.

"Though the market improved, I don't think the rise can last long, as many ships that were booked in September will arrive soon," a trader in Shanghai said.

Janie Davies
Twitter: @janiedavies_mb