• Grades diverge as 44% index rises, 37% weakens
• Port prices drop in China
• Chinese manganese alloy prices under pressure
• Indian silico-manganese market strengthens
• Mixed performances for alloys in Europe and USA
Metal Bulletin’s 44% manganese
, cif Tianjin, rose 3 cents to $6.17 per dmtu on
Metal Bulletin’s 37% manganese
, fob Port Elizabeth, fell 4 cents to $4.58 per
Spot prices for manganese in Chinese ports fell significantly
as traders cut offers to boost sales and lock in profits ahead
of the next round of purchasing by steel mills, when alloy
prices could be lower.
"Mills may start their purchase by the next two weeks; people
think spot silico-manganese price may soon lose ground in line
with futures prices," one trader told Metal Bulletin.
Silico-manganese futures prices have dropped significantly,
dampening sentiment in both the ore and alloy markets. The
most-traded September contact of silico-manganese on the
Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange (ZCE) fell to its lowest level
since early May to 6,154 yuan ($903) on Tuesday June 13, then
closed at 6,274 yuan per tonne on Friday June 16, flat
"Silico-manganese futures prices remain weak, creating
pessimistic sentiment. Ore traders all want to lock in profit
and leave the market," a major trader told Metal Bulletin.
A third trader predicted a drop in seaborne prices in response
to the lower port prices.
"The port price drop is large; it caused traders to become
reluctant to import so some low-priced seaborne deals may been
heard," the trader said.
Still, others pointed out that stocks of manganese ore
– often an undermining factor for prices –
have been falling sharply in recent weeks.
Metal Bulletin’s assessment of manganese ore stocks in Chinese ports
stands at 2.55-2.85 million tonnes, compared with 2.85-3.05
million tonnes on May 31.
"We have increased our price 10 cents since last week.
Seasonally, prices can fall at this point in the year, but I
gather stocks in China are still falling. Stocks were sent to
other regions: Japan, Europe and India, so that’s
reduced supply in China," a miner told Metal Bulletin.
"There’s good demand outside China. I would not
have expected such a decrease," the miner added.
Increased exports are expected from South Africa in July and
August, sources told Metal Bulletin.
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for domestic Chinese silico-manganese
dropped 100 yuan
week-on-week to 6,400-6,700 yuan per tonne on Friday June
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for domestic Chinese ferro-manganese
came in at 6,100-6,300
yuan per tonne on Friday, down from 6,300-6,400 yuan the
Indian silico-manganese prices remained strong during the week,
still heavily influenced by the recent rally in ore
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
climbed 10 dollars to $1,100-1,130 per
tonne fob, on increased offers and a lack of material available
However, while prices remained supported by ore prices, many
participants were not confident of a continued rally.
"Indian silico-manganese is around $1,100 fob. Prices are
expected to weaken a bit. India is undergoing a change in
taxation policy and hence all business is a little slow at
present. People want to wait and see the impact of the new
taxation system," one source told Metal Bulletin.
"Also, the rupee has appreciated a lot and because of that I
think exporting is not really viable. That also would probably
have some impact," the source added.
European SiMn prices dip on lower offers
In Europe, silico-manganese prices weakened as
European sellers fought to attract buyers amid an unfavourable
arbitrage compared with Indian material.
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for silico-manganese,
delivered in Europe
fell to €1,060-1,100 per tonne
"It’s a bit lower on silico-manganese in Europe,
which is most likely due to seasonality issues. Third-quarter
negotiations are under way and some low numbers are around,
which is weighing on sentiment," a producer said.
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for ferro-manganese, delivered
, rose to €1,220-1,290 per tonne from
€1,200-1,280 per tonne previously.
Sources noted a tightness in nearby material, but stronger
availability and lower prices for third-quarter contract
material, which is in the process of being negotiated.
Low stocks support US prices
In the USA, the ferro-manganese market maintained its strength,
taking support from current inventory shortfalls.
US spot prices for high-carbon
held firmly at $1,440-1,500 per long ton in
warehouse Pittsburgh on June 15, flat week-on-week, according
to Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s latest
Mill and traders alike have been scrambling for material, as
many have found themselves short.
"There is still some evidence of a significant shortfall in
high-carbon ferro-manganese," a supplier source told AMM.
"I’ve had calls from several different steel mills
and traders this week looking for tonnage ranging from several
hundred tonnes to over 1,000 [tonnes]," the source added.
"This market has been very firm. Numerous mills and traders are
still seeking units for the third quarter, and they
aren’t having an easy time doing so," a second
supplier source said to AMM.
As mills have been seeking additional material for the third
quarter and second half, sources noted a more guarded approach
taken by the mills as they seek to mask the shortfalls.
"Mills are trying to avoid causing any sense of urgency or
price spike that may stem from them being shorter than
previously believed," a third supplier source said.
However, the market is aware of their situation, the second
supplier source added.
"There has definitely been some behind-the-scenes work by the
mills trying to cover up shortfalls, but the word is out at
this point," the second supplier source said.
US spot prices for silico-manganese
– for which supply is not as tight as ferro-manganese
– edged down slightly to 63-66 cents per lb on June
15, down from 63-67 cents per lb previously, according to
AMM’s latest assessment.
"We aren’t exactly swimming in inventory at the
moment, but it just isn’t quite as tight as
ferro-manganese," a supplier source said to AMM.
US silico-manganese prices have been at a healthy premium to
the global markets in recent months, leaving the door open to
new market entrants, sources said.
"We are seeing more material coming from places like Russia and
Malaysia, given the wide price spread on US silico-manganese,"
a third supplier source said.
"That is going to inevitably lead to some price correction back
towards the global markets," he added.
As multiple mills have open requests for quotation at this
time, market participants expect to have a more concrete
direction on pricing over the second half of June.