Global supply was down 6.6% against January, the latest figures from the industry body show, more than offsetting the 1% increase in January compared with December 2018.

Although prices dropped year on year, manganese ore producers continue to make healthy margins as prices remain at historical highs.

Fastmarkets’ 44% manganese ore index, cif Tianjin stands at $6.46 per dry metric tonne unit (dmtu), down from $8.48 per dmtu a year ago. The price’s all-time low was $1.74 per dmtu, according to Fastmarkets historical data.

Fastmarkets’ 37% manganese ore index, cif Tianjin stands at $6.17 per dmtu compared with $8.06 per dmtu a year ago. 

The bulk of supply in February came from Africa and the Middle East, at 903,000 tonnes, up 11% year on year but down 6% against January.

Supply from the Asia and Oceania region rose 2% year on year to 473,000 tonnes, but fell 14% compared with January.

Global demand came in at 1.57 million, up 6% year on year and down 7% since January.

This leaves a small global surplus of 13,000 tonnes.

The largest share of demand by far came from Asia and Oceania at 1.24 million tonnes, up 7% year on year but down 8% since January.

The region was left with a global deficit of 768,000 tonnes, based on the gap between its own supply and its demand needs.