- Domestic and imported prices weaken in
China’s spot market
- Contract prices firm in line with tender prices
- UG2 prices dip as Turkish ore prices advance
- Europe prices hold amid subdued consumer demand
- US prices edge up as suppliers stand firm
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for Chinese domestic ferro-chrome in the spot
market edged down to 7,000-7,400 per tonne on Friday, from
7,000-7,500 per tonne previously.
The domestic price is equal to 80-85 cents per lb.
Meanwhile, contract prices inched higher, catching up with the
sharp increase in mills’ tender prices earlier in
July. Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for Chinese domestic ferro-chrome on contracts rose 100
yuan at the low end of its trading range to 6,800-7,000 yuan
The rebound in ferro-chrome prices since June means domestic
capacity that had been loss-making at lower numbers is likely
to be brought back online, according to sources in China.
"With the ferro-chrome price rebounding to 7,000 yuan per
tonne, some capacity in Guizhou province will resume," a
ferro-chrome buyer from a stainless steel mill in eastern China
told Metal Bulletin.
A similar effect was seen in the spot market for imported
cargoes. Metal Bulletin’s charge chrome
index, cif Shanghai fell to 83 cents per lb on Friday, from
85 cents per lb previously.
Imports into China have increased due to the stability of
overseas supply, compared with domestic, and the similarity in
prices, which has left some imported cargoes cheaper than
domestic, sources said.
This is likely to further undermine spot prices for both
domestic and imported material, sources warned.
Meanwhile, the recent uptick in stainless steel prices may not
be sustainable, raising the threat of additional downward
pressure on ferro-chrome prices, sources said.
After late July, it will be clear whether a rumoured increase
in orders placed in late June represents a real increase in
stainless supply to meet increased demand.
"It is very hard to say stainless steel prices will go on
rising in the following weeks. July 20 will be the time to
check whether stainless steel supply will increase," Kaiwei
Lin, senior analyst at Galaxy Futures, said.
Further upstream, UG2 chrome ore prices dipped amid thin
Metal Bulletin reported last week that traders who had made
fortunes squeezing the manganese ore market have accumulated at least 500,000 tonnes of
chrome ore in China and are planning to squeeze the
Metal Bulletin’s UG2 chrome ore
index, cif China dropped $2 to $169 per tonne, but is still
up 22.5% over the past month.
"Miners’ UG2 supply for August delivery to China
has almost sold out since Chinese main stainless steel mills
released their ferro-chrome tender prices for July," a major
ferro-chrome and chrome trader in Tianjin said.
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for Turkish lumpy chrome ore (40-42% Cr) rose to $260-280
per tonne, cfr China, up $10 at each end of its trading
Strong demand meets tight supply in Asia
Elsewhere in Asia, spot prices firmed in South Korea due to
increased demand and tight supply.
Metal Bulletin assessed spot high-carbon
ferro-chrome, cif South Korea at 81-87 cents per lb on
Thursday July 13, up from 80-85 cents the previous week.
"The price in South Korea is rising; we can no longer find any
cargo at around $0.80 [per lb]," a major trader in Seoul told
A second trader in Seoul reported that most offers were close
to 90 cents per lb.
Meanwhile, Metal Bulletin’s high-carbon
ferro-chrome price cif Japan was assessed at 85-90 cents
per lb, unchanged for the fourth consecutive week.
EU prices steady, US prices rise
In Europe, spot high-carbon ferro-chrome prices remained steady
as producers insisted on a price floor at $1.10 per lb, in line
with the third-quarter ferro-chrome benchmark
Metal Bulletin’s price quotation
for high-carbon ferro-chrome held at $1.10-1.18 per lb,
delivered in Europe, on Friday July 14.
Spot consumer demand across Europe was subdued, but
ferro-chrome producers said they have no need to drop their
"The majority of European buyers are covered for the time being
and there is no interest on the consumer side to build up
stocks before the end of August. Producers have well-balanced
stock levels and no need to sell at cheap prices into the trade
to liquidate stocks," a ferro-chrome producer source told Metal
There is scope for higher offer prices in the near term,
sources said, citing a rage of factors including higher chrome
ore prices, recent alloy strength in China and limited
stainless steel scrap availability.
In the USA, high-carbon ferro-chrome prices continued to trade
at a significant premium to other global markets last
High-carbon ferro-chrome prices, in-warehouse
Pittsburgh rose to $1.38-1.47 per lb on July 13, up 2 cents
at the high end of the range, according to Metal Bulletin
sister publication AMM’s latest
"Everyone is holding their breath, trying to wait out the
market if they can, while price levels sit at dramatic premiums
to those outside the USA," a market source told AMM.
Slow trading has had little effect on prices and, like those in
Europe, suppliers said they have no intention of selling into
the trade at lower prices.
"With the higher grades being protected to a degree, none of
the major suppliers are in an eager mood to disrupt this
market. They are not going to sell into the trade at lower
numbers to undermine these prices," a supplier source told