GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: European, Chinese antimony prices weaken as Golden Week begins
Antimony prices in Europe and China continued to weaken last week amid poor demand and ahead of the start of the seven-day national holiday in China that started on Monday October 2.
Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA standard grade II antimony in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $8,200-8,300 per tonne on Friday September 29, unchanged from Wednesday’s pricing session when prices had fallen from $8,300-8,500 per tonne.
Trioxide grade antimony prices in-warehouse Rotterdam were assessed at $8,250-8,450 per tonne, unchanged from Wednesday, when they had fallen from $8,350-8,600 per tonne.
“The market is very quiet before the Chinese holidays,” a trader in Europe said. “We are doing small quantities in Rotterdam and are now able to buy at $7,850-7,900 from China. China is on holiday all of next week so that might help to stop the drop.”
A second trader confirmed that prices are falling quickly and are already around the $8,000 per tonne mark.
“I’m buying below $8,000 for October shipment and selling just above $8,000.”
Reports of temporary closures on the smuggling route between China and Vietnam continue to circulate in the market.
“Exports via Vietnam are still difficult,” one producer said. “I’m not an eager seller right now.”
Consumers have moved to the sidelines of the market in anticipation of prices dropping even further, a third trader said.
“The question now is what will happen after China is back next week,” a fourth trader said. “Demand is still not great, which is putting further pressure on prices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices dropping even further after China’s return.”
As well, the antimony price in China continued to fall over the past week, which reflects few firm enquiries in the spot market and some market insiders having already left for China’s Golden Week.
Metal Bulletin’s latest assessment of MMTA Standard Grade II delivered duty paid antimony prices was 52,000-53,000 yuan ($7,879-8,030) per tonne on Wednesday September 27, a decrease of 1,000 yuan per tonne from one week ago.
“Most suppliers are resisting the price fall and held firm offers at 52,500-53,000 yuan per tonne for the material, but buyers’ acceptable level was 52,000-52,500 yuan now,” a consumer said, adding that he bought 40 tonnes at 52,000 yuan since the previous assessment and another unspecified quantity at 52,500 yuan earlier.
A Yunnan-based producer reported his offer at 52,500 yuan per tonne this week, down 1,000 yuan from last week.
“The expected peak season in September has been dull amid falling prices and I hope the market will be more active after China’s national holiday,” he said.