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.
Demand 
  • 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.
Logistics 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.
Price since outbreak began 
See also - Coronavirus impact on key parts of the steel supply chain:
Iron ore
Coking coal
Manganese ores and alloys
Steel

Janie Davies

jdavies@fastmarkets.com

Jon Stibbs

jon.stibbs@fastmarkets.com

Siyi Liu

siyi.liu@fastmarkets.com

Published

Janie Davies

Jon Stibbs

Siyi Liu

February 06, 2020

15:53 GMT

Shanghai, London