Ferro-tungsten prices expected to fall after reaching peak

Ferro-tungsten prices are about to hit the crest of the latest wave of activity and are likely to begin heading down again, market participants told Steel First sister publication Metal Bulletin on Friday April 5.

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Metal Bulletin’s in-warehouse Rotterdam quotation remained at $40-42 on Friday, having climbed from $39-39.60 on Wednesday, and could come up slightly more, but this is likely to be short-lived.

“For the past couple of days, I’ve not heard of anyone really booking anything. After some companies cover their shorts, in general, I think prices will stabilise,” a trader said.

“As soon as we see any uptick in prices, we immediately see Chinese and Asian suppliers moving material to Europe. There will be more material, and then the price will be off again.”

Ferro-tungsten prices suffered heavy falls earlier in 2013, dropping to levels last seen in November 2010, but showed dramatic improvement as April began, following an increase of interest from German steel mills.

This interest now appears to have waned somewhat, and it is not clear whether it will return in the near term, market participants said.

“This is the typical underlying structure for the ferro-tungsten market. It’s not a flowing market – it’s always at extremes,” a second trader said.

“Either its extremely hectic and large volumes are moving around, or it’s completely silent. We’re now coming to the end of a wave and people are preparing for a return to silence.”