GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: Prices fall globally amid dwindling demand

Antimony prices moved down last week in Europe and China as weak consumption continued to put pressure on the market.

Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA standard grade II antimony in-warehouse Rotterdam prices at $7,800-8,150 per tonne on Friday October 20, down 1.5% from Wednesday. Midweek prices had remained stable on the previous pricing session at $8,050-8,150 per tonne.

Trioxide grade antimony prices in-warehouse Rotterdam were assessed at $8,000-8,250 per tonne, down 0.9% from Wednesday’s prices of $8,150-8,250 per tonne. Antimony trioxide prices had been unchanged on Wednesday.

“[China-Vietnam smuggling route] closures started on the first day of the Communist Committee meeting [on October 18] and nobody is producing for the rest of October due to factory closures,” a trader said.

Still, this fundamental backdrop is not helping to propel prices higher, market participants noted.

“What’s hurting the market is lack of overall consumption,” a second trader said.

The Chinese antimony market was quiet within the two weeks following the Golden Week holidays (October 2-8), and have prices fallen further amid feeble demand.

Metal Bulletin assessed China’s MMTA standard grade II delivered duty-paid antimony prices at 51,500-52,000 yuan ($7,756-7,831) per tonne on Wednesday October 18, down 1.4% from a week ago.

“I booked 100 tonnes of cargo with low bismuth at around 51,500 yuan [per tonne] early in the week to maintain my production of antimony trioxide [mainly 99.8% min], but demand for antimony trioxide has been weak in recent weeks and producers, like us who have to purchase antimony ingot as raw materials, have very limited profits now,” a Hunan-based antimony trioxide producer said.

The producer source reported that small tonnages of MMTA standard grade II antimony ingot were quoted at 51,000 yuan per tonne, but concerns about the quality of the offered material made him buy from regular suppliers. “That [price] not for mainstream sources, but given the weak demand from downstream industries and recovering production in Lengshuijiang area, antimony prices may fall further,” the producer source added.

“We bid 51,000 yuan, but are waiting for acceptance from suppliers,” another consumer of antimony ingot told Metal Bulletin last Wednesday. “Resistance to price declines intensified when antimony prices slumped to near 51,000 yuan per tonne. The [production] costs for most producers [mainly in Lengshuijiang area] who replenished 100 truckloads of antimony concentrates 45% was about 41,000 yuan per tonne one month ago.”

But later last week, the source said one supplier agreed to sell at 51,000 yuan per tonne.

Metal Bulletin understands prices for antimony concentrates 45% were pressured down to around 38,000-39,000 yuan per tonne recently, but not much material can be sourced at this level now.

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