GLOBAL ANTIMONY WRAP: Prices in Europe at two-month high; Chinese market quiet
Antimony prices in Europe continued to move up last week amid tightening supply while the Chinese market was quiet with limited buying activity seen.
Metal Bulletin assessed MMTA Standard Grade II antimony in warehouse Rotterdam prices at $8,300-8,650 per tonne on Friday August 25, unchanged from Wednesday, but up week on week from $8,300-8,650. Trioxide grade antimony prices in-warehouse Rotterdam were assessed at $8,350-8,700 per tonne. Both grades are holding around their two-month highs.
“The market is firm and it is difficult to get a reasonable price from China,” one trader said.
“I am getting a lot of enquiries from traders – they either want to take positions or are short. I’m not hearing anything from customers yet who are not back from summer holidays. It’s very tight at the moment. There is almost no difference between the two grades now,” a second trader said.
“Still, there has been little if any volume business,” a trader in the USA noted. “It is eerily quiet for an August and it will be interesting to see how much business rolls in after the European summer vacations and the USA’s Labor Day,” the trader added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese antimony market was quiet over the past week due to sluggish demand for downstream products of antimony trioxide.
Metal Bulletin assessed China’s MMTA Standard Grade II delivered duty paid antimony prices at 55,500-56,500 yuan ($8,321-8,471) per tonne on Wednesday August 23, unchanged from one week ago.
Buying interest is low in the antimony metal and trioxide markets now so some suppliers have lowered offers to 55,000 yuan per tonne for antimony metal to attract orders.
“Production in antimony trioxide consuming industries have been disrupted by the nationwide environmental checks [in China] as well as weak demand in the off-season summer period, so buying activities in the physical market are really thin,” a Hunan-based market source said.
Small producers are accepting 55,000 yuan per tonne to sell antimony metal, Metal Bulletin learned, but the recent slight price rise in the European market is supporting the confidence of some suppliers who object to selling at low prices and choose not to quote.
“The Chinese antimony market is in a stalemate and how the market will go depends on the demand growth following the summer holidays outside of China and what the [ongoing] environmental inspections will affect more, supply or consumption?” another trader told Metal Bulletin.