GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: European market in ‘period of stability’, while slow Chinese demand pushes prices lower

Antimony prices in Europe were unchanged over the past week with few deals being concluded, while Chinese prices moved lower amid sluggish demand.

Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA standard grade II antimony in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $8,300-8,550 per tonne on Friday September 15, level with Wednesday’s pricing session. 

Trioxide grade antimony prices in-warehouse Rotterdam were assessed at $8,350-8,650 per tonne last Friday, unchanged from Wednesday.

“European market is still very quiet,” a trader said. “Prices in China are stable but there is definitely less activity there.”

“There’s been some talk [that the smuggling route between China and Vietnam might be closed] but that is not helping the prices yet,” another trader said.

“We’re in a period of stability for now but I believe prices might start increasing at the end of this month as it looks like there will be more environmental inspections starting in November,” a third trader said.

Meanwhile, the Chinese antimony market continued to be pressured down by sluggish demand and expectations of production restarts in Lengshuijiang area, Hunan province, with prices for the cargo falling further over the past week. 

Metal Bulletin assessed China’s MMTA standard grade II antimony delivered duty paid at 53,500-54,500 yuan ($8,193-8,346) per tonne on Wednesday September 13, down 0.9% week on week. 

“Low buying interest in the physical market and rumours that other four privately-owned antimony smelters will resume production from late September is circulating in the market; buyers are postponing the replacements,” a source in China told Metal Bulletin.

The market has been slow and very few deals have been closed, market participants told Metal Bulletin.

“Downstream demand weakened because of production cuts following the stringent nationwide environmental inspections,” a second Chinese source said.

Most market participants are expecting a clear market direction after China’s National holidays (October 1-7).

“Overseas demand may increase into the fourth quarter because of the purchases before the western Christmas holiday followed by restocking after coming back from the summer holidays,” a third China-based source said.

The source expects the market to be more active entering the last quarter of the year.