Major Chinese stainless steel mills cut April ferro-chrome tender prices

Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Tisco), Tsingshan Group and Baosteel have lowered their high carbon ferro-chrome tender prices month on month for April amid a sluggish stainless steel market.

All three mills dropped their tender purchase prices by 500 yuan ($80) per tonne from the previous month, they announced on Friday March 30.

Tisco set its high carbon ferro-chrome tender price at 7,250 yuan per tonne for April delivery, down from 7,750 yuan per tonne the previous month.

Tsingshan Group bid 7,496 yuan per tonne for the same material, down from 7,996 yuan per tonne in March.

Baosteel also lowered its April tender price for the stainless steel raw material to 7,500 yuan per tonne, down from 8,000 yuan per tonne over the same period.

Tisco, Tsingshan Group and Baosteel’s tender prices are all duty-paid, on a cash basis, including delivery, basis 50% chrome.

Metal Bulletin assessed the domestic contract price, on a delivered basis, at 7,250-7,500 yuan per tonne on March 30, down from 7,750-8,000 yuan per tonne one week ago.

Market drivers

Market participants attributed the 500 yuan decrease to a weak domestic stainless market. Previously, participants had told Metal Bulletin they were expecting a drop of 200 to 300 yuan from March’s level.

High inventories and a lack of buying interest have driven domestic stainless steel prices down further this week.

Metal Bulletin assessed prices for benchmark 304 stainless cold-rolled coil in the major market of Wuxi at 14,200-15,100 yuan ($2,256-2,399) per tonne including VAT for the week ended Thursday March 29, compared with 14,300-15,100 yuan per tonne a week earlier.

While some mills are heard to be cutting production, the impact on stainless steel output will be minimal, according to a trader in east China.

The lower-than-expected April tender price will defer domestic spot trading on high carbon ferro-chrome in China, and will also weigh on charge chrome and chrome ore prices cif China.