GLOBAL MANGANESE WRAP: Ore price rally falters, alloys weaken in most regions

Manganese ore prices slid on Friday September 29 after large Chinese buyers wrapped up purchasing and market participants predicted weaker prices into the fourth quarter.

• Ore prices weaken as Chinese buying ends
• Falling silico-manganese futures weigh on sentiment
• Alloy prices weaken in China, India, Europe
• US alloys markets remain stagnant

Metal Bulletin’s 37% manganese ore index, fob Port Elizabeth dropped 3 cents to $5.10 per dmtu, equivalent to $5.67 per dmtu, cif China.

Metal Bulletin’s 44% manganese ore index, cif Tianjin dropped 4 cents to $6.54 per dmtu.

“It is very obvious to producers, traders and buyers alike that the market peaked last week and that an inevitable slide will take place this week as most of the large Chinese buyers have already secured enough stock for November delivery,” a Chinese trader told Metal Bulletin.

Chinese market participants were reluctant to take positions as they prepared for the start of the week-long autumn holiday, raising the threat of profit-taking.

“I wonder if people are just taking profit before the holiday. I’d say the mood is negative; no one is going to take a risk before a holiday,” a manganese ore producer source told Metal Bulletin.

Still, as demand waned, manganese ore supply remains extremely tight amid low inventory levels in the ports of Tianjin and Qinzhou, sources said.

Metal Bulletin’s assessment of manganese ore stocks in major Chinese ports shows a sharp drop in inventory levels during September.

“The only factor supporting manganese ore prices is the terribly low inventory level at the port of Tianjin, which is causing worry to traders and buyers,” a second trader told Metal Bulletin.

“I don’t see any large shipments arriving into the port of Tianjin for October and November, so the tight supply situation is not likely to ease as we move into the fourth quarter,” the trader added.

Weakening silico-manganese futures continue to loom over the manganese ore industry, as prices lose ground week on week.

The most-traded January contract on Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange closed at 6,640 yuan ($999) per tonne on September 29, down 36 yuan from September 22.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for physical spot Chinese silico-manganese prices weakened to 7,300-7,400 yuan per tonne, from 7,350-7,500 yuan per tonne previously.

Metal Bulletin’s quotation for Chinese ferro-manganese prices eased 50 yuan per tonne at the low end of its trading range to 6,750-7,000 yuan per tonne, reflecting a pullback in buying interest.

European, Indian alloys prices flat to lower
Elsewhere, manganese alloy prices were also under downward pressure, or at best stable, amid thinner trading.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for silico-manganese, fob India dropped to $1,175-1,200 per tonne, down from $1,180-1,250 previously.

In Europe, high-carbon ferro-manganese prices were assessed at €1,180-1250 ($1,390 – 1,475) per tonne on a delivered basis, down €25 on the high end of its range.

Silico-manganese held at €1,030-1,110 per tonne, delivered in Europe.

US alloys prices steady
In the USA, ferro-manganese prices held firm at $1,550-1,600 per long ton on Thursday September 28, according to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.

“The market really quietened down this week. I think the mills are pretty well covered at this point,” a supplier source told AMM.

Suppliers conceded that the market became more competitive during the past week than it had been for a while.

“We had been pretty easily booking in the range of $1,580-$1,600 but last week we had some mixed results at those numbers,” a second supplier source said.

Prices may have overshot to the upside and a correction could be due, a third supplier told AMM.

“High-carbon ferro-manganese prices are getting a little lofty at this point. There should be correction on that,” the source said

US spot prices for silico-manganese held steady at 60-63 cents per lb on September 28, unchanged from the previous week, according to

“There has been nothing at all new on silico-manganese this week. No new enquiries have come across my desk in the last few weeks,” a supplier source said.

Download our weekly maganese ore newsletter here.