Coronavirus impact on key parts of the steel supply chain: Chrome ore and alloy
Most ferro-chrome smelters had covered their ore needs for this week and logistics disruptions are minimal between ports and many major smelters. But logistics disruptions are hitting mills as they seek alloy. Predictions of higher prices have not been realised so far.
Supply and stocks
- Chrome ore inventories at the main ports of Tianjin, Qinzhou, Lianyungang and Shanghai: 3.12-3.42 million tonnes on February 3, up 2.5% from January 20.
- Alloy: A small number of alloy smelters close to Wuhan have halted production, while most producers are operating as normal.
Logistics since outbreak began
- Most alloy smelters had already purchased sufficient chrome ore to last until February 8, and expect to replenish from portside stocks for immediate feedstock in the following weeks.
- Many stainless steel mills have reported increasing demand for ferro-chrome because road transport disruption is limited access to normal supplies.
Price since outbreak began
- Port to smelters: Logistics between Tianjin port and Inner Mongolia said to be running smoothly for chrome ore, so delivery not affected as much as for manganese.
- Smelters to mills: The delivery of ferro-chrome to mills in different regions have been affected by transport restrictions.
- Inland mills likely to worst-affected but suppliers hope to continue to serve coastal customers.
See also - Coronavirus impact on key parts of the steel supply chain:
- Chrome ore prices held in the first week after Chinese New Year and early indications suggest higher offer prices may come due to surge in demand in short term
- Chrome ore South Africa UG2 concentrates index basis 42%, cif China: $136 per tonne on January 31, unchanged since January 24.
- Chrome ore Turkish lumpy 40-42%, cfr main Chinese ports: $180-185 per tonne, also unchanged.
- Sources said domestic ferro-chrome prices in China may receive support amid the transportation disruptions.
- Ferro-chrome spot 6-8% C, basis 50% Cr, ddp China: 5,700-5,900 yuan per tonne on January 31, also unchanged.
- Ferro-chrome 50% Cr import, cif main Chinese ports: $0.69 per lb, flat since January 3.
Manganese ores and alloys