Ferro-tungsten prices in Europe could be on their way to reaching $50 per kg, a trader suggested on Friday May 10, as supply remains tight.

Offers from the Far East have been heard at $47 per kg, and prices in Europe are edging towards $46 per kg already.

“I would guess it will go to $50 per kg fairly swiftly, and then it will reach the Chinese number,” the trader said.

A second trader added that the price continues to look robust in Europe, as supply remains tight, and is likely to be affected by the temporary shutdown of Vietnam Youngsun’s plant for repairs.

“The closure is definitely putting pressure on the market. They’re going to be at least a month late, so there will be a near-term squeeze,” the second trader said.

“We sold some heavily off-grade material [at a high price] a couple of days ago, so that’s indicative of where things really are.”

China's State Reserve Bureau is also reportedly buying up to 10,000 tonnes of concentrates, which could push prices up, and therefore push up the cost of production, with a knock-on effect on ferro-tungsten.

Metal Bulletin’s in-warehouse Rotterdam quotation for the alloy moved up to $44.50-45.50 per kg on Friday, up a dollar on the low end, and further rises are expected throughout May.

The rise marks a startling turnaround compared with earlier in the year, when prices dropped as low as $38.50 per kg - the lowest level since November 2010.

Claire Hack
Twitter: @clairehack_mb