GLOBAL CHROME WRAP: Ore, alloy prices drop in Asia; Europe firms

Chrome ore and ferro-chrome prices dropped in China on Friday October 13 amid thin trading, after buyers finished securing their raw materials needs.

  • Ore and alloy prices drop in China after consumers complete buying
  • Ferro-chrome prices weaken in Japan and South Korea
  • Alloy prices firm in Europe on tight supply
  • US ferro-chrome prices rise on stronger activity, tight supply

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for Chinese spot domestic ferro-chrome dropped to 8,000-8,300 yuan ($1,215.44- 1,261.10) per tonne, down from 8,100-8,400 yuan per tonne previously.

The latest spot Chinese domestic ferro-chrome price is equal to 94-97.6 cents per lb.

Market participants returned from the Golden Week holiday (2-8 October), during which trade stalled, with a bearish outlook on prices while consumers reported ample ferro-chrome stock.

“Stainless steel mills have stockpiled enough ferro-chrome; they are not lacking ferro-chrome [stocks],” a ferro-chrome buyer at a major stainless steel mill told Metal Bulletin.

The end of the expensive winter power tariff period in South Africa means alloy supply from that country is increasing, and as a result prices are becoming more attractive to buyers, a trader told Metal Bulletin.

“More ferro-chrome supply from South Africa, [because] the winter has ended, is [putting] pressure on Chinese ferro-chrome prices,” the trader said.

“Spot ferro-chrome trading volumes are very thin while the market maintains a bearish view of the fourth-quarter ferro-chrome price,” the source added.

Metal Bulletin’s charge chrome index, cif Shanghai dropped three cents to $1.01 per lb cif China.

Chrome ore pries were knocked by the lower ferro-chrome price and rising ore stocks in Chinese ports.

Metal Bulletin’s UG2 chrome ore index, cif China dropped to $220 per tonne cif China, from $227 per tonne previously.

Chrome ore inventories in Chinese ports stood at 2.294 million tonnes on Friday October 13, an increase of 304,000 tonnes from the previous week, according to market data.

“Buying interest from Chinese ferro-chrome producers is fading while prices in major Chinese ports are down for the week due to high inventories,” a chrome ore trader told Metal Bulletin.

Metal Bulletin’s latest price quotation for Chinese domestic high-carbon ferro-chrome on contracts rolled over at 8,200-8,400 yuan per tonne on October 13, based on major Chinese stainless steel mills’ tender prices for October.

Elsewhere in Asia, prices were down on thin trading and while suppliers adjusted their offer prices lower amid buyer resistance.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for high-carbon ferro-chrome, cif Japan price fell to $1-1.05 per lb on Thursday October 12, down from $1.03-1.06 per lb a week ago.

“We didn’t do any ferro-chrome deals; $1.03-1.06 is not expensive but we want to get a cheaper price because we think the market is falling,” a Japanese trader told Metal Bulletin, adding that he would bid at $1 per lb.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for high carbon ferro-chrome, cif South Korea fell to $1.01-1.04 per lb from $1.03-1.06 per lb.

“We haven’t been able to sell anything in Korea and Japan,” a major Indian supplier told Metal Bulletin.

In Europe, the stock situation was reversed and ferro-chrome prices edged higher.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for high-carbon ferro-chrome, delivered in Europe rose to $1.25-1.46 per lb, as a number of deals were reported comfortably above $1.40 per lb.

While trading was thin, market participants said firm prices are being supported by relatively low stock levels and stronger cash nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange.

In the USA, high-carbon ferro-chrome prices held firm amid tight supply while market activity maintained a stronger pace for a second consecutive week.

Spot prices for high-carbon ferro-chrome, in warehouse Pittsburgh held at $1.42-1.48 per lb on October 12, unchanged from the previous week, according to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.

After a slower-than-expected September, spot market demand has shown increased levels of activity through the first half of October, allowing suppliers to garner firm prices on spot transactions.

“The market is definitely still more active. Also, my push for a small price increase seems to be working,” a supplier source told AMM, noting several sales throughout the upper half of the range.

Consolidated supply remains the primary impetus for premium prices in the US market, meaning there is no pressure on suppliers to agree to lower numbers in order to secure volume.

“The major high carbon producers would much rather see higher prices than chase some of these deals,” a third supplier source explained.

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