GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: Global prices continue to fall amid weakening demand
Antimony prices fell again last week in Europe and China, pressured down by weak demand, although some market participants anticipate higher prices in the near future.
Metal Bulletin assessed MMT standard grade II antimony in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $7,700-8,100 per tonne on Friday October 27, unchanged from Wednesday when prices had fallen from $7,800-8,150 per tonne.
Trioxide grade antimony prices in-warehouse Rotterdam were assessed at $7,900-8,200 per tonne, unchanged from Wednesday, when prices had fallen from $8,000-8,250 per tonne.
“Although producers in China are still holding on to firm offers, demand is what the market is lacking right now [and that is] pushing prices down,” a trader said.
“I don’t think downside is huge from here, [but] there is still a little room for prices to fall further,” the trader added.
“I’m reluctant to buy any material right now because the market keeps dropping. We haven’t reached the bottom yet,” another market participant said.
Although overall sentiment remains weak, some see potential for prices to rise.
“There is no business below $8,000 per tonne as there is a serious lack of antimony metal in stock in Rotterdam, so it is easy to get $8,000 plus prices, especially for trioxide grade,” a trader said.
“I think export prices will start rising now as well. Seems that all the producers have had a meeting and agreed to push the price up. Let’s see if they succeed. Might need a border issue to assist,” the trader added, referring to the illegal export route between China and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the downtrend in Chinese antimony prices continued, owing to weak demand and lower antimony concentrates prices.
Metal Bulletin assessed China’s MMTA standard grade II delivered duty-paid antimony prices at 50,000-51,500 yuan ($7,553-7,779) per tonne on Wednesday October 25, 1.9% lower week on week.
“Earlier this week, I sold a batch of antimony metal to an antimony trioxide producer at 51,000 yuan [per tonne], and also heard offers at 50,000 yuan in the spot market,” a Hunan-based producer said.
Demand for downstream antimony trioxide, ethylene glycol antimony and sodium antimony has been weak, and lower closing prices for antimony concentrates have appeared, dragging antimony metal prices further down.
“Sales of downstream products this year is not as good as last year as some consumers have halted [purchasing] because of [restrictions of] heavy pollution during the environmental inspections,” a downstream source said.
A deal for 60 truckloads of antimony concentrates 45% was concluded at 38,000-39,000 yuan per tonne recently, 2,000 yuan per tonne lower than mid-September, a third source reported to Metal Bulletin.