Manganese ore prices have started 2019 by continuing a slide that began in December, weighed down by weak downstream demand in China, where market participants are reluctant to buy because of fears about price risks.
Fastmarkets’ 37% manganese ore index, cif Tianjin dropped 5.7% to $5.76 per dry metric tonne unit (dmtu) on Friday January 11.
A price-limiting factor in 2018 that has extended into 2019 was the narrowing of manganese alloy smelters’ profit margins. Monthly meetings in China to establish price ceilings or keep the whole market stable and sporadic threats to cut alloy production highlight this.
Meanwhile, a key piece of good news towards the end of last year has started to exacerbate the established barriers to higher prices.
A series of new Chinese manganese alloy plant openings, adding about 2 million tonnes per year of capacity, was widely credited with keeping ore prices stable late last...