European ferro-chrome benchmark rolls over for Q1 2022

The European charge and high-carbon ferro-chrome benchmark for the first quarter of 2022 has rolled over from the fourth quarter of 2021, remaining at $1.80 per lb Cr, having risen 24 cents per lb, or by15.38% from the third to the fourth quarter.

The settlement is announced by Merafe Resources on a quarterly basis, and the latest was released on Friday December 10. The company operates a chrome joint venture with Glencore in South Africa.

The benchmark for ferro-chrome lumpy Cr charge quarterly, basis 52% Cr (and high carbon), delivered Europe, $/lb Cr (rounded to the nearest two decimal places) is a forward-looking price for the next quarter.

It is settled through negotiations between a leading South African ferro-chrome producer and a major European stainless-steel mill – usually Glencore and Luxembourg-based mill Aperam.

The rise in the quarterly price from the third to the fourth quarter brought the benchmark to its highest point since the first quarter of 2009. It has now remained at this level for the first quarter of 2022.

Spot prices in the European ferro-chrome market have seen major increases during 2021, on supply tightness and ongoing strength of demand, but have begun to soften slightly in recent weeks, with the traditional end-of-year slowdown getting underway.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-chrome high carbon 6-8.5% C, basis 65-70% Cr, max 1.5% Si, delivered Europe dipped slightly, to $1.72-1.90 per lb on December 7, from $1.75-1.90 per lb previously.

Spot prices have historically been below the benchmark given that ferro-chrome producers often negotiate discounts against the settlement for spot purchases with their customers.

But tightness of availability, alongside issues over energy supply, have helped to keep prices strong at the high end of the range.

Fastmarkets’ ferro-chrome lumpy Cr benchmark indicator, charge basis 52% (and high carbon), Europe was $1.91 per lb on December 7.

The indicator forecasts the benchmark at any given point, if it has been settled that day.

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