GLOBAL CHROME WRAP: Chinese domestic alloy prices ease as mills complete buying

Chinese spot domestic ferro-chrome prices weakened slightly on Friday September 8 because stainless steel mills have started to wrap up their September raw materials buying spree.

  • Chinese alloy prices ease as consumer buying slows
  • South African charge chrome import prices hold on shipment delays
  • Chrome ore prices keep rising on lower inventory
  • European alloy prices hold firm

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for spot Chinese domestic high-carbon ferro-chrome (6-8% C, basis 50% Cr) dropped to 8,600-8,700 yuan ($1,327-1,343) per tonne on Friday September 8, down from 8,600-8,800 yuan per tonne.

The domestic spot price is equal to $1.04-1.05 per lb.

“Major Chinese stainless steel mills have finished purchasing for September, so immediate demand from stainless steel mills for spot cargoes has decreased,” a major ferro-chrome producer told Metal Bulletin.

Falling nickel prices also weighed on the domestic ferro-chrome market.

The three-month nickel price dropped by 5.58% to close at $11,505 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange on Friday September 8.

Prices for imported charge chrome held firm after transportation constraints in South Africa delayed shipments.

Metal Bulletin’s charge chrome index, which tracks South African imports to China, held at $1.05 per lb, cif Shanghai on Friday September 8.

“The delay in deliveries has resulted from a transport lag in some ports in South Africa. Transportation capacity in South African has become very tight,” a major ferro-chrome importer told Metal Bulletin.

Chinese market participants, including sources at stainless mills, said ferro-chrome tender prices will rise again in October, due to lower South African ferro-chrome imports and as seaborne chrome ore prices continue rising.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for Chinese domestic high-carbon ferro-chrome on contracts (6-8% C, basis 50% Cr) rolled over at 8,300-8,500 yuan per tonne, equal to 100-102 cents per lb.

UG2 chrome ore prices climbed up over the week on lower inventory and anticipations of higher Chinese ferro-chrome production this month.

Metal Bulletin’s UG2 chrome ore index, cif China rose $6 to $231 per tonne on Friday.

Turkish lumpy chrome ore prices rose to $340-360 per tonne, from $310-330 per tonne previously.

“Chrome ore inventory is decreasing as ferro-chrome producers increase their operating rate, stimulated by the higher alloy price and better profit,” a major chrome ore trader told Metal Bulletin.

Elsewhere in Asia, ferro-chrome import prices continued to rise in Japan and Korea, despite thin trading, as some sellers were sold out for September.

“Regular customers are buying, but otherwise people don’t want to take a big position at this point, since prices are high,” a trader source told Metal Bulletin.

High-carbon ferro-chrome, cif South Korea moved up to $1.03-1.07 per lb, on Thursday September 8, from $1-1.05 per lb previously.

Ferro-chrome prices were assessed at $1.04-1.10 per lb, cif Japan, on the same day, up from $1-1.07 per lb a week earlier.

“Demand is not bad but Japanese buyers are well satisfied by their long-term contracts, and prefer to wait for the next quarterly benchmark announcement,” a second trader told Metal Bulletin.

In Europe, high-carbon ferro-chrome prices held steady at $1.15-1.25 per lb.

Negotiations to settle the fourth-quarter charge and high-carbon ferro-chrome benchmarks are expected to start in the next week or so, sources told Metal Bulletin.

High-carbon ferro-chrome, in-warehouse Pittsburgh held at $1.42-1.50 per lb on Thursday, according to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.

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