• Ore prices hold as China celebrates National Day
  • Physical alloy prices hold in China
  • US silico-manganese markets records first upward move since February
  • Alloy prices under pressure in Europe amid subdued demand

Metal Bulletin’s 37% manganese ore index, fob Port Elizabeth rolled over at $5.10 per dmtu on Friday.

Metal Bulletin’s 44% manganese ore index, cif Tianjin rolled over at $6.54 per dmtu.

Chinese buyers and traders said they anticipate a slowdown in demand as the fourth quarter progresses because most major Chinese buyers have secured enough stock for November.

After the National Day holiday (October 2-8), a the key theme dominating the industry will be contract negotiations for next year’s volumes, a trader in China told Metal Bulletin.

Buyers have been caught out by unexpectedly low port availability at times in 2016 and will want to avoid exposing themselves to similar situations in the future.

“Large buyers had cut back on contract volumes this year, which led to panic buying when stockpiles at the port of Tianjin plummeted. This is an important theme moving into next year as buyers will be more tactical about their contract commitments,” the trader said.

Meanwhile, silico-manganese futures have been losing ground, weighing on sentiment for physical ore and alloy prices.

The most-traded January silico-manganese contract on Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange closed at 6,640 yuan ($999) per tonne on September 29, down 36 yuan from September 22. 

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for physical spot Chinese silico-manganese held at 7,300-7,400 yuan per tonne in the absence of spot activity. 

Metal Bulltein’s Chinese ferro-manganese prices held at 6,750-7,000 yuan per tonne.

Looking forward, industry players said they expect a pullback in buying interest in November in line with an anticipated downturn in the steel industry.

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US silico-manganese price creeps up
Elsewhere, manganese alloys staged a mixed performance, particularly in the USA amid a flurry of large enquiries for the fourth quarter.

Silico-manganese prices moved up in the USA for the first time since February as several mills booked significant fourth quarter tonnages, resetting the market floor price at 61 cents. 

Silico-manganese in-warehouse Pittsburgh moved up to 61-63 cents per lb on October 5, from 60-63 cents per lb previously, according to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.

AMM’s assessment for high-carbon ferro-manganese, in-warehouse Pittsburgh, slipped to $1,515-1,600 per long ton on October 5, from $1,550-1,600 per long ton previously. 

A number of traders and suppliers offered more aggressively, but some noted several smaller spot sales at the high end of the range.

“I’m still offering no less than $1,575 [per long ton] and I am still having plenty of success,” a supplier source said.

Market participants noted that healthy mill demand would continue to provide support for prices heading through the fourth quarter.

“Demand from mills overall is still very solid on the carbon side, so we aren’t seeing any abrupt downside in the near term,” a second supplier source said.

In India, prices edged up as a supplier was able to sell material above the previous week’s quotation. 

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for silico-manganese, fob India rose to $1,175-1,210 per tonne, up $10 at the high end of the range.

European suppliers cut offer prices
In Europe, manganese alloys markets weakened as suppliers cut offer prices to encourage buying.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for silico-manganese, on a delivered basis in Europe, dropped to €1,000-1,100 ($1,174-1,291) per tonne.

Data points relating to 500 tonnes of confirmed business were reported to Metal Bulletin in the €1,000-1,050 per tonne range, but trading was thin in Europe across all manganese alloys. 

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for high-carbon ferro-manganese came in at €1,100-1,200 ($1,291-1,408) per tonne to major European destinations, down from €1,180-1,250 per tonne previously. 

Deals amounting to 500 tonnes of alloy were reported in the €1,100-1,150 per tonne range.

Metal Bulletin manganese prices