GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: Antimony continues to extend higher amid Chinese environmental inspections

Antimony prices moved up both in China and Europe last week as Chinese environmental inspections continued to give support.

Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA Standard Grade II antimony, in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $8,200-8,450 per tonne on Friday August 11, from $8,100-8,450 per tonne on August 9.

Meanwhile, trioxide grade antimony prices, in-warehouse Rotterdam moved to $8,200-8,500, up from $8,150-8,450 per tonne in the same comparison. 

Offers were heard as high as $8,700 per tonne for trioxide grade amid increased interest.

“I’m not offering any material at the moment. I’m waiting,” an antimony trader in Europe said.

“I wouldn’t even offer at $8,500-8,600. The market is only going up as the Chinese closures are having a serious effect on the market,” the trader added.

“The market is getting stronger. I’m hearing that the Vietnamese border is very tight and it is difficult to get new offers for export,” a second trader said.

“The price increase has not yet stopped. We are seeing further increases in China and Europe is following, too,” a third trader said.

“Antimony doesn’t stand still. This market is constantly moving,” the trader added.

Meanwhile, the Chinese antimony market saw very few offers over the past week, as cross-regional environmental inspections are taking place in the Lengshuijiang area, Hunan province, and market participants prefer to stay on the sidelines amid an uncertain outlook.

Metal Bulletin assessed China’s MMTS Standard Grade II antimony prices at 55,500-56,500 yuan ($8,326-8,476) per tonne on Wednesday August 9, up 0.9% week-on-week. 

Zhenqiang Antimony Smelter, the largest privately owned antimony smelter, received production approval for compliance with environmental protection standards this week. However, market sources predicted that the smelter would not be able to sell in the spot market for the next two months because it had signed about 1,200 tonnes of orders before its shutdown in early April and buyers are waiting for deliveries. 

Other smelters that shut down for plant improvements in January and April, in Guangxi and Hunan provinces, will not restart until September at the earliest. While their stocks have been used up, the tight supply in the antimony market will continue giving support to prices, market participants noted.

“Antimony prices will rise continually and slowly as some overseas buyers have not come back for replacement stock and demand for downstream products of antimony trioxide is a little weak in China,” a Hunan-based source said.

“Currently, producers in the Lengshuijiang area do not offer and are watching the market,” the above source said.

“I sold a batch of antimony ingot at 55,500 yuan per tonne to a regular buyer, and lifted offers to 57,000 yuan as I do not have much stock,” a Yunnan-based producer said.