2019 PREVIEW: Instability, bearishness likely to rise in Chinese manganese ore market

The volatility in manganese ore prices should rise in 2019 while increases in alloy smelting production and rail transportation capacity in China filter into the market, however, prices are expected to soften short term due to pressure from alloy smelters, market participants said.

Higher volatility in the manganese ore price would represent a return to normality, with the last six months of 2018 uncharacteristically stable. The difference between the top-end and low-end of each weekly price range in the second half of 2018 was compared to the average price of the six-month period, to represent a percentage of the price spread as a proportion to the average price. Prices for 37% manganese ore, fob Port Elizabeth, were calculated in a range of only 12.2% from the average of $5.92 per dry metric tonne unit (dmtu) over the second half of the year. Over 2018 as a whole, the spread of prices was 36.9% of the average price of $6.15 per dmtu. By comparison, the range had been 102.3% against the whole-year price average in 2017, 170.8% in 2016 and 82.9% in 2015. It seems unlikely that the stability in the second half of 2018 will...

Published

Karen Ng

Jon Stibbs

January 10, 2019

16:05 GMT

London, Shanghai