In Europe, the ferro-silicon market fell to a near three-and-a-half-year low in the week to July 10 after briefly stabilizing the previous week. Sustained weakness in steel, particularly in the stainless steel sector, has been weighing on demand for feedstock - especially for prompt shipment.
Additionally, the European steel sector is about to shut furnaces and plants for the seasonal summer slowdown.
Earlier indications suggested that operations would be kept running at a low level of around 20-30%, but such has been the weakness in demand for steel products - in areas such as automotive, construction, white goods and electrical items - that steelmakers have decided to shut production for extended periods in July and August.
Carbon steel producers are shutting production on average for around three weeks, while stainless steel production is being shut for up to five weeks. On average each year, steel production is typically...