Meta l Bulletin sister title AMM’s silico-manganese price increased to 52 to 54 cents per pound on December 5 from 51 to 53 cents previously. 

“It seems that the silico-manganese market is getting very exciting. Other tenders that have been decided have been [done so] at above current market prices, and we booked some business ourselves around the 53- to 54-cents [per-pound] levels for first quarter,” one trader said.

While Felman’s idled plant has had a more immediate impact, South African power issues could crimp supply in early 2014, sources said.
“The issue with Eskom is more serious than they’ve been telling the market. There’s a buyback programme in place and they are quietly asking some producers to extend it,” the first trader said.

South African state power provider Eskom showed a red power alert on its website December 6, meaning “electricity supply is under severe strain”, and in late November requested “sustained energy savings” of at least 10% from private and industrial consumers.

“The [power] problems [in South Africa] continue. You will see more mandatory, short-term shutdowns [for alloy producers],” a second trader said.

For the first 10 months of the year, South Africa shipped 52,956 tonnes of silico-manganese to the USA out of total inflows of 269,643 tonnes, according to Commerce Department figures.

One consumer, who said he completed some 2014 silico-manganese business recently at a firm number below current market prices, disagreed that there was a supply crimp. “We’ve been offered ample tons,” he said.