GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: European market stabilises; Chinese price consolidates

Mainstream antimony prices in Europe were stable over the past week with few big deals for prompt shipments, while Chinese market prices consolidated further amid weak demand.

Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA Standard Grade II antimony in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $8,300-8,550 per tonne on Friday September 8, 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. 

“There are still good prices around for prompt material, especially if it’s for a big volume, but shipment offers for October are softening out of China with plants reopening,” a trader said.

“European prices are stable while offers from China are weakening. The big consumers are still not buying and it’s not as exciting as everyone thought it would be when we get back to work in September,” another trader said.

“You hear some higher offers for prompt every now and then. If people are desperate and need big quantities and no one else will have that amount in stock, they will pay high prices,” a third trader said.

“I was expecting buyers to be back in the market by now but so far very little business has been concluded,” a fourth trader said.

Meanwhile, Chinese antimony prices continued to be pressured down by sluggish demand. 

Metal Bulletin’s assessment for Chinese MMTA Standard Grade II prices was 54,000-55,000 yuan ($8,308-8,462) per tonne on Wednesday September 6, 500 yuan lower week on week. 

“I sold 40 tonnes at 54,000 yuan [per tonne] this week and concluded a deal at 54,500 yuan last week,” a Hunan-based producer told Metal Bulletin.

The physical antimony market has seen few enquiries in recent weeks, and the downstream antimony trioxide industry was also affected by the nationwide environmental inspections, meaning the antimony trioxide market was in a lull, according to the above source.

Additionally, production restarts at private smelters in Lengshuijiang area, which are rumoured to begin in late September or early October, are also casting a shadow on the market because the timeline is approaching. 

Zhenqiang Smelter was given the go-ahead to resume antimony production at the beginning of August. 

“Some downstream consumers may delay purchases and wait for clearer market direction,” a second market source said.

“Demand is set to increase as western consumers are back for replacements from their summer break, but supply in China may also recover later. No one is sure how the market will go forward then,” the source added.