Ryan’s Notes
September 19, 2014

Euro manganese alloys see lift, US differs

Prices for European silicomanganese were on the upswing this past week, climbing to €820-870 per mt, DDP. Volumes were somewhat substantial given a previously quieter market earlier this quarter. Sources noted that steady intake and a slight rise in spot demand, coupled with tighter spot availability among select producers, have led to higher price tags in the past two weeks.

Recent deals revealed a rise in prices from traders and producers to European end users. Current offers also indicated attempts to add lift to the silicomanganese market in Europe. Generally, several suppliers indicated intentions to consolidate numbers above the €850 per mt, DDP mark.

Meanwhile, prices for European high-carbon ferromanganese were also up this week, holding most recently at €725-770 per mt, DDP. The rise in prices follows recent gains for medium-carbon ferromanganese, as many market players cite firm demand in the European market, following the summer lull and maintenance programs.

Anna Fleming, Consultant and Editor of CRU Bulk Ferroalloys Monitor, reported, "Manganese ferroalloy prices in Europe are gradually rallying. However, particularly in silicomanganese and high-carbon ferromanganese markets, the key factor behind the gains is the recent depreciation of the Euro against the US dollar (-3.4% since the start of August). As a result, trading conditions for non-local producers have, in fact, not materially improved in this major market."

In the US, prices for silicomanganese contracted to 57-58C per lb, ex-warehouse, as all recent transactions have consolidated further at the bottom of the pervious range of 57-59C per lb, ex-warehouse. Market participants in the US noted a slight rise in inquiries for material in addition to long-term agreements. Recent volumes have been healthy for the spot market as well, and some lower prices witnessed outside of independent sellers have appeared to have risen as well. There was no indication if prices would alter greatly in the near future, however, as some global market participants were not expecting the premium in the US to maintain for an extended period over the European market. Meanwhile, others were also cautious as Felman Production ramps up SiMn output in West Virginia. Despite a marked rise in imports of silicomanganese over 2013 so far this year, many market players expect imports to slide through the rest of the year, as Felman Production adds units to the market.

Additionally in the US, market participants were still awaiting confirmation on high-carbon ferromanganese prices, as at least one mill RFQ was not believed to have been closed and finalized as of last week. After many months of slower activity in the market and lower prices, some sources felt that high-carbon ferromanganese was still likely undervalued and could see price gains throughout the approaching fall season.