- EU ferro-silicon prices under pressure heading into
- Excess imports, particularly from Malaysia, adding to
- US prices continue slide on aggressive quarterly
- Continuing supply tightness keeps Chinese ferro-silicon
Summer slowdown drags on EU market
European spot ferro-silicon prices eased again last week due to
lower offer prices. The move follows a fall in prompt demand
from domestic steelmakers, some of which are starting their
traditional shutdowns for maintenance in the seasonal summer
vacation months of July and August.
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for ferro-silicon delivered in Europe
€1,200-1,250 ($1,364-1,421) per tonne on Friday July 7,
down €10 from previously.
"All major third quarter ferro-silicon requirements from
steelmakers have been concluded, and for the time being we are
mostly negotiating small to intermediate volumes," one supplier
Suppliers reported booking deals at €1,220 per tonne
delivered, with a couple of offers for a total of 620 tonnes of
ferro-silicon split at €1,240 per tonne and €1,245
per tonne, respectively.
EU imports pressuring prices
European ferro-silicon prices have been dropping from an annual
peak this year of €1,280-1,350 per tonne in mid-May due to
increased availability of imports, notably from Malaysia.
That move has coincided with a fall in imports from traditional
suppliers such as Brazil, although that stream of supply
appears to be flowing back, according to the latest trade
Brazilian industry ministry data shows that June shipments of
ferro-silicon to the EU from Brazil jumped almost six-fold to
3,777 tonnes year-on-year.
However, shipments of ferro-silicon (>55% Si) are down
almost 48% in the first six months of 2017 year-on-year to
Total Brazilian ferro-silicon exports were 8,219 tonnes in
June, off almost 12% year-on-year, but up almost 50% from May
US prices slide on aggressive third quarter negotiations;
The US ferro-silicon market slid once again last week, as some
market participants continued to offer aggressively as the last
of third quarter negotiations wrapped up.
Spot prices for ferro-silicon in the USA
slipped to 77-82 cents per lb on July 6, down 1 cent on the low
end from 78-82 per lb previously, according to Metal Bulletin
sister publication AMM’s latest assessment.
Although the Fourth of July slowed down market activity within
the USA, ferro-silicon prices continued to weaken while traders
and suppliers attempted to place any leftover volumes for the
"I think some people panicked a bit on second half and third
quarter business," a supplier source told AMM. "These lower
numbers don’t make a lot of sense."
While some suppliers offered overly aggressively to sell off
material, believing it was their last opportunity, others used
the panic as an opportunity to stock up material from traders
eager to sell off.
"I am buying up anything I can find below the index numbers
from traders," a second supplier source told AMM. "Because I
can’t get it anywhere else in the world cheaper
than in a USA warehouse. Go figure."
Market participants expressed confusion regarding the low
prices, given that market supply remains tight at this time.
US imports of ferro-silicon continued to be limited in May, as
inflows totalled 5,366 tonnes during the month, bringing the
first five month total to 62,224 tonnes, down 18.6% from 76,457
tonnes during the same year-ago comparison.
"I think the US market is about to explode," a third supplier
source said. "Some anxious sellers dragged down pricing over
the last few weeks, but world prices aren’t really
"I don’t know where people will restock, so
numbers should be on the way up shortly here," he added.
Chinese market firm on thin inventories
The Chinese ferro-silicon spot market remained firm this week,
with prices holding steady amid tightened supply of the
Metal Bulletin’s assessment of
the Chinese spot ferro-silicon price
stood at 5,700-5,800
yuan ($838-852) per tonne on Friday July 7, unchanged from the
previous week. Meanwhile, the fob price
was similarly flat at
$1,140-1,170 per tonne.
"I am afraid that the price will rise if smelters maintain
their current operating rates," one major producer in China
"The overall supply of ferro-silicon [basis 75% Si] in China is
very tight due to smelters lowering their production rates amid
the low prices, while prices have now increased on the tight
supply as well as firmer demand from the steel industry," a
second producer said.