Stainless steel major, China’s Tsingshan, has raised purchase price for HC 50% ferro chrome by a steep RMB 2,400/t ($370/t) m-o-m to RMB 10,795/t ($1,664/t) for Aug’21 deliveries. The increase can be attributed to an acute shortage of ferro chrome in the Chinese market. Meanwhile, the increasing cost of UG2 is also supporting ferro chrome prices. Current offers in the Chinese market are at around RMB 11,000/t (1,696/t) exw.
India’s ferro chrome prices have been increasing since last week after enquiries from China picked up for Aug’21 shipments. The last domestic deal concluded for a bulk quantity was at INR 119,300/t ex-Jajpur. It is expected that prices might increase further. Indian smelters have started quoting at around INR 123,000/t, while Chinese prices have inched up to RMB 10,900/t ($1,681/t) (HC 55%) in Inner Mongolia.
- Indian market optimistic
- Chinese prices escalate to decadal highs
- Indian stainless steel mills bleed on higher prices
The Indian ferro chrome market witnessed a significant increase in prices by INR 5,000/tonne (t) w-o-w to around INR 111,300/t, with a few deals being sealed at even higher levels as well.
The Chinese market further boosted the already up-trending prices of ferro chrome in the domestic market. The sources of ferro chrome have shrunk in the country with only a few producers catering to bulk orders. Meanwhile, smelters reported that there are increased inquiries from the Chinese market and buyers are bidding by up to 115 cents/lb.
The major increase in the prices can be attributed to the increased Chinese prices. Prices of ferro chrome in the Chinese market have increased, since the start of the week, by 17% w-o-w, while today prices swung up by around RMB 1,000/t ($155/t) to RMB 11,000/t. Although, no deals have been concluded at this level, the prices are expected to be accepted soon. The last traded deal was at around RMB 10,400/t in Inner Mongolia, and at around RMB 10,800/t in other regions.
Though the electricity restrictions in Inner Mongolia have been eased, producers are busy catering to the previous orders pile-up. It is unlikely that the spot market will see any easing in supply in the near term, sources said.
A major steel producer in northern China is out of inventory, while many smaller steel plants are out of stock which is a cause for concern in the market.
Meanwhile, the South African UG2 prices increased by $5/t to $170/t after the civilian unrest broke out in the country followed by major ports declaring Force Majeure. Although the situation has improved and the backlog in orders is being cleared, the major miners have increased their prices and there is still a supply gap that needs to be filled.
The stainless steel market in China is still optimistic and offering added support to the Chinese ferro chrome prices.
However, the situation is quite contradictory in the Indian market, where the major part of the production is for the 200 series material which is mostly used for making utensils. According to the major stainless-steel producers, with the country being in continuous lockdowns, demand for utensils has suffered largely, bringing down the demand for stainless steel. Thus, such an increase in ferro chrome prices has left them bleeding. Some of the producers might also resort to lowering their production levels if prices do not ease. Although the sentiments from the stainless-steel mills remain pessimistic, many special steel and stainless producers are trying to book material in anticipation that prices may increase further.
Indian smelters remain optimistic due to scarce supply and increasing Chinese inquiries. However, some producers are cautious because of the chaotic market scenario in China. They feel, there might be some clarity after the Chinese market settles down.
Chinese ferro chrome prices increased significantly by 17% w-o-w to around RMB 10,400/t ($1,609/t) amidst supply shortage. Although electricity curtailments have eased, current demand is too high for Chinese smelters to fulfill in the near time. Meanwhile, spot chrome ore prices in China have moved up thereby supporting ferro chrome prices further. A few Chinese producers have raised offers to RMB 11,000/t ($ 1,701/t), expecting to receive enquiries soon, as per latest reports.
Chinese ferro chrome prices are at around RMB 9,300/t ($1,434/t), registering an increase of RMB 500/t, while offers have increased up to RMB 10,000/t ($1,542/t), up by RMB 900/t. A major company in the country’s northern region is running out of stocks and has increased offers. Meanwhile, amidst increased chrome ore prices and power curtailment, the market remains bullish and the smelters believe that the RMB 10,000/t mark would soon be reached, as per reports.
Vedanta (FACOR) conducted an auction today for 1,500 t of ferro chrome. The entire quantity on offer received bids at higher prices due to bullish sentiments in the domestic market amidst rising Chinese enquiries, as per SteelMint reports. Enquiries by Chinese market participants rose due to supply disruption in South Africa, with Indian ferro chrome suppliers standing to gain. Prices were around INR 3,000/t higher compared with late last week. The last transaction for HC ferro chrome was heard at INR 107,000/t ex-Jajpur.
Bhutan’s producers kept their ferro silicon offers unchanged at INR 140,000/tonne (t) exw, as majority of them sold out their material for the month and have limited stocks to offer.
In addition, increased labour availability issues in both Bhutan and Meghalaya are affecting production.
In Meghalaya, offers are at around INR 145,000/t, but many deals were concluded at lower prices too. Few producers also held back offers on expectations of an increase in prices.
There is good demand from the international market, but the unavailability of containers, increased freight rates, and inability to produce sized material is limiting profits, say producers.
Meanwhile, prices in China’s domestic market increased on supply constraintsafter power curtailment in Inner Mongolia. Although, prices in China’s exports market were stable, smelters expect that these will rise soon.
Bhutan-based producers believe that prices may increase soon. However, reduced steel production in the country and restarting of Malaysian ferro silicon mills could be detrimental factors.
Ferro chrome offers in the Chinese spot market increased to around RMB 9,000/t ($1,390/t) for high carbon (HC) 55% material, a d-o-d increase of RMB 300/t. The sharp rise in offers can be attributed to:
- Reduction in ferro chrome supplies in Inner Mongolia due to power curtailment.
- Disrupted supply from South Africa due to severe social unrest in the nation.
- Increasing demand for ferro chrome from the 300 series stainless steel market in China.
Ferro chrome imports in to South Korea were recorded at 36,245 tonnes (t) in Jun’21, up by 3.4% m-o-m in Jun’21 as against 35,056 t seen in May’21, according to customs data. However, the same dropped by 5.1% q-o-q to 128,982 t in Q2 (Apr-Jul) CY’21.
South Africa, which accounts for 70% of global ferro chrome exports, remained the largest exporter to South Korea. However, imports from the country reduced by a hefty 50% m-o-m in Jun’21 to 11,643 t. This was because the South African ferro chrome producers had cut their production owing to higher electricity tariffs.
Ferro chrome imports from India jumped by 306% m-o-m to 8,419 t in Jun’21 as compared to 2,074 t in the previous month. However, the same decreased by 9% to 35,910 t q-o-q in Q2 CY’21. Lower prices of ferro chrome in India, along with increased export taxes from China influenced the South Korean buyers’ interest.
India exports around 90% of its total ferro chrome production to the Far East countries mainly to China, Japan, and Taiwan. It also has a long-standing relationship with POSCO, the South Korean conglomerate.
The other significant rise in imports was seen from Russia with 3,796 t in Jun’21, up by 121% m-o-m. On a q-o-q basis, volumes increased by 39% in Q2CY’21.