NEWSBREAK: Court orders auction of Fanya’s entire antimony stock on August 31

Southwestern China’s Kunming Intermediate People’s Court will auction for all of the 18,661 tonnes of antimony ingots held by the collapsed Fanya Metal Exchange in late August, according to an official notice seen by Fastmarkets on Thursday August 15.

The antimony ingots - equivalent to about two months of global output - will be put up for auction from 10am Beijing time on August 31 until 10am on September 1 via the Alibaba judicial online platform, where 34.64 tonnes of indium held by Fanya was successfully auctioned on April 25.

The auction’s reserve price is about 546 million yuan ($77.68 million), according to the notice. This works out to around 29,264 yuan per tonne.

The reserve price includes a 13% value-added tax, court officials told Fastmarkets on Thursday.

Bidders will need to bid for the entire lot of the auctioned antimony ingots, they added.

Parties interested in taking part in the auction can reach out to the court for additional information or clarification over the August 15-31 period, the notice said.

“The price is quite attractive, but I am afraid only some state-owned company can afford it since it requires one to take all of the ingots on auction,” a buyer source in China said.

While the auction is largely expected to weigh on spot prices, which are currently much higher than the reserve price, many Chinese market participants are taking a watchful stance to see how things develop.

“There is no doubt that this round of auction will further undermine the already weak market sentiment, but I do not think the [domestic spot antimony] price will see a significant dip immediately as people tend to adopt a watch-and-see approach first,” a Chinese trader said. He added domestic antimony producers would likely exercise more caution with securing ore in the next few weeks.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment of antimony MMTA standard grade II, ddp China was 36,500-38,000 yuan per tonne on Wednesday, down 500 yuan per tonne - or 1.3% - from 37,000-38,500 yuan per tonne a week earlier.

Prices have fallen by about 2.6% since concerns over looming auctions for minor metal stock held by Fanya re-emerged after the second trial for the defunct exchange ended on July 26.

The latest assessment is also the lowest since May 2016.

The Fanya Metal Exchange was initially a boon to China’s domestic market when it was launched in 2011, providing another outlet for producers to sell their materials and giving a group of new investors the opportunity to step into what is considered a complicated market.

But cracks began to show at the end of 2014, when some investors started to become wary over metal stock continuing to pile up due to new production coming on to feed demand for the exchange’s products. With sentiment souring, the exchange found itself exposed to continually falling prices for metals, while also being accused of failing to pay suppliers.

The local government said that about 70,000 tonnes of 14 different kinds of non-ferrous metals had been seized by Yunnan police.

This included about 3,629 tonnes of indium - equivalent to six years’ worth of global consumption - and enough bismuth to feed more than a year’s demand for the metal, as well significant volumes of selenium.

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