Market fundamentals, concerns over Ningxia Tianyuan spur manganese flake rally in 2018

Metal Bulletin presents a timeline of key dates and events related to the manganese flake rally this year and the reasons behind the moves.

Manganese flake prices are now trading at levels last seen in July 2012 amid ongoing production curtailments at major Chinese producer Ningxia Tianyuan, with the impact now spreading into the ferro-chrome and selenium markets.

Metal Bulletin’s assessment for in-warehouse manganese, min 99.7% electrolytic manganese flake, MB free market, was at $2,600-2,800 per tonne on July 6, moving up 44% since the beginning of the year when prices were at $1,800-1,950 per tonne on January 3.

MB free market selenium prices hit a year high of $23.50-26 per lb on April 18, after starting the year at $17.50-19 per lb on January 3. Prices have settled back down recently to a year low of $15-17 per lb on July 6.

Metal Bulletin assessed prices for ferro-chrome in China, 6-8% C, 50% Cr, delivered duty paid on spot at $7,850-8,300 per tonne on March 9, the year-to-date high, before hitting the year-to-date low of $6,850-7,000 per tonne on May 4 and rebounding to $7,700-8,000 per tonne on June 29.

Ningxia Tianyuan is the world’s largest manganese flake producer – accounting for around 40% of global production – and the biggest selenium dioxide consumer.

With the future of Ningxia Tianyuan still uncertain, Metal Bulletin presents a detailed timeline of events surrounding the manganese flake rally and how it’s affecting different markets.

January 5, 2018
Manganese flake prices rise sharply following reports of production stoppages at the world’s biggest producer amid ongoing environmental inspections in China.

January 24, 2018
Manganese flake prices surge above $2,000 per tonne amid ongoing environmental inspections in China with further production disruptions adding fresh momentum to this year’s rally.

January 25, 2018

Selenium prices in Europe continued to move up on sustained robust demand from India, with rallying manganese flake prices adding new impetus to the market.

February 15, 2018
Manganese flake prices climb to a fresh multi-month high on a continued supply squeeze with the Lunar New Year holiday expected to disrupt supply further.

April 23, 2018
Manganese flake prices jump over 14% to the highest level since December 2016 on continued supply tightness in Europe.

April 25, 2018
The manganese supply squeeze again pushes manganese flake prices higher, with prices climbing more than 8%.

May 22, 2018

The rally in manganese flake prices is likely to resume after production cuts at Ningxia Tianyuan, sources said.

May 29, 2018
Selenium prices in Europe retreat from three-year highs on weakening demand, increasing spot market availability and concerns over demand from Ningxia Tianyuan.

June 19, 2018

Production curtailments at major Chinese producer Ningxia Tianyuan will maintain support for the manganese flake and ferro-chrome markets, market participants tell Metal Bulletin.

June 21, 2018

Selenium prices continue to fall in Europe dropping by more than 6% amid weakening demand and increasing material availability on the spot market.