GLOBAL MANGANESE WRAP: Silico-manganese prices boosted by improving sentiment, futures market

Asian silico-manganese prices were bolstered by strengthening demand and higher prices on the futures exchange, while manganese ore prices largely held stable.

  • Manganese ore prices largely stable
  • Low-grade ore prices rebounded late in the week on improving sentiment
  • Silico-manganese prices boosted by the futures market, healthier demand
  • US, EU markets hold stable amid continued inactivity in summer lull

Manganese ore prices stable before climbing
Manganese ore prices were stable to slightly lower on average last week, as higher sales later in the week failed to offset cheaper prices at the start of the week.

The 37% index fell to $4.49 per dmtu fob Port Elizabeth from $4.52. The 44% index held at $6.08 per dmtu cif China, stable week-on-week.

Sources highlighted the large volumes of material that have gone to China in recent weeks, and estimated that overall stocks in China have grown. This prompted at least one cheaper sale at the start of the week.

As the week went on, however, prices climbed, supported by healthy anticipated demand from the steel sector, which lent support to silico-manganese prices in China.

“Sentiment has improved, with tightening environmental controls expected to strengthen the steel market,” one seller said.

This has boosted Chinese silico-manganese futures and spot prices, sources said.

“There’s a lot of speculation that the steel sector will be supported,” one manganese ore seller told Metal Bulletin.

“Demand is up. I’m getting unsolicited bids for 37% above $5 cif,” another seller said on Friday.

“The market has been stable. Demand is decent. Semi-carbonate is still being offered at good prices.”
Chinese silico-manganese prices boosted by improving sentiment, futures
China’s manganese ore market improved this week with port ore prices moving up in line with increased demand and a firming silico-manganese market .

Metal Bulletin assessed the silico-manganese price in the China spot market at 7,000-7,200 yuan per tonne on Friday August 18, up by 200 yuan at the low end from a week ago, while Chinese ferro-manganese prices held firm on the week at 6,500-6,600 yuan per tonne on Friday.

“Smelters increased their ore purchase this week on the back of higher prices of the alloys, plus the latest additional purchase from Shagang increased their confidence over demand,” a major trader in Shanghai said.

The latest silico-manganese purchase price from eastern China’s steel major Shagang was 7,500-7,700 yuan per tonne, including delivery, up by about 300-400 yuan from its most recent buying price.

“Mills will start their September purchases one after another from next week. It seems prices will rise given the current market environment,” the trader added.

“I think the manganese ore price is certain of support in the short term on the back of the current robust alloys market,” a second trader said.

The most-traded January silico-manganese contract on Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange closed the week at 7,380 yuan per tonne on Friday August 18, compared to 7,168 yuan last Friday.

Indian silico-manganese market bolstered by ore prices
The relative strength of the ore market in the latter part of the week supported alloy prices in India, which have climbed to $1,120 fob for 65:16 material.

“The prices are getting stronger very steadily. Prices might even move higher next week,” one source in the region said.

This is now happening because of the steep rise in manganese ore prices, he added.
US, EU alloys hold stable amid summer lull
US high carbon ferro-manganese stabilised last week, ending an eight week price run amid ongoing regional tightness

US spot prices for high-carbon ferro-manganese held firmly at $1,520-1,580 per long ton on August 17, unchanged from the previous week, according to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.

Spot market prices remained stable in light of the slowdown in spot market activity last week.

“It really quietened down this week,” a supplier said. “Outside some truckload-sized business to foundries, there hasn’t been much consumer interest.”

Despite the slow spot demand, the overall market outlook remains firm as spot supply continues to be tight.

Trader inventories in particular have remained thin, as suppliers noted continued interest from traders looking to cover short stocks.

“As far as high-carbon ferro-manganese goes, it’s still really hard to find, and traders are still out there looking to cover short positions,” a second supplier source told AMM.

The tight supplies are not expected to dissipate, maintaining support for elevated prices looking ahead, market participants said.

“Based on current consumption levels, stocks should continue to be running short, and prices still could have upside from here, a third supplier source said.

Meanwhile, the US silico-manganese market remained inactive last week, with prices staying unchanged.

US spot prices for silico-manganese held flat at 61-64 cents per lb on August 17, according to AMM’s latest assessment.

“This was really just the wrong week for silico-manganese,” a supplier source said. “The market was completely dead.”

“This was not a very active week for inquiries,” a second supplier source agreed.

In Europe, silico-manganese and ferro-manganese prices were flat, as the holiday period continued, limiting consumer interest.

European silico-manganese prices held at 1,020-1,080 euros on August 18, while high-carbon ferro-manganese prices remained steady at 1,200-1,260 euros, according to Metal Bulletin’s latest assessment.

“It’s unchanged. Everyone is away,” one trader said.