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AMM
American Metal Market

By Daniel Fitzgerald
January 06, 2014

Silicomanganese climbs, FeSi may dip

NEW YORK - Silicomanganese spot prices have moved up over the holiday season, while traders are reporting fewer concerns about ferrosilicon supply, which could prompt further price drops.

Silicomanganese moved up to a range of 53 to 56 cents per pound from 52 to 54 cents previously.

Market participants said the increase was attributable to supply concerns prompted by ongoing power issues in South Africa and uncertainty over the future of Letart, W.Va.-based Felman Production LLC (amm.com, Dec. 6).

"For a lot of people, prices just weren't profitable," one trader said. "Traders didn't have a lot of inventory to begin with and weren't happy with the prices on offer, so you started to see people pull back. And with Felman out of the market and power issues in South Africa, it just got tight."

Meanwhile, ferrosilicon spot prices were unchanged in a range of 94 to 98 cents per pound, although traders forecast possible price drops as the supply situation continues to improve.

Prices have eased in recent months as supply concerns raised by an anti-dumping complaint against Russian and Venezuelan shipments have abated somewhat (amm.com, Nov. 22),

"The ferrosilicon market has come under pressure, with the Chinese pushing material a little bit (and) some traders trying to take advantage of the trade case," the trader said.

A source at one producer affected by the trade case said that his company had managed to secure several contracts covering the first half of 2014, as well as one full-year contract for one of its larger customers. "Formula discounts were no worse than last year, and in some cases slightly better," he said. 

A second trader also said that some long-term contracts for ferromanganese had yet to be finalized.