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Ryan’s Notes
April 3, 2015

 US SiMn sees downward move

US silicomanganese prices were down again this past week, bringing the CRU Ryan's Notes' range to 51-55 cents per lb, ex-warehouse. There were rumors that additional mills would be looking for material in the not too distant future, but there was little evidence to suggest that the US market would see much activity over the next week following several religious holidays. A number of sources suggested that prices could go even lower now that the marker has begun to decline; with the rising value of the US dollar and decline of the euro, many felt that the US premium would slowly erode in a weaker domestic steel market.

Although many major mills are behind on their contracted offtake, several smaller domestic operations still return to the spot market quarterly or semi-annually. This type of business has seen great competition, particularly among traders who recognize the weaker domestic steel market. Meanwhile, despite the start of the second quarter this past week, there could be additional spot transactions, as many consumers remain off schedule with supply agreements.

Trade cases have also been an added factor with regard to market forecasts. In the US, industry participants should expect to hear within the next week if the US ITC will take up the recent anti-dumping case for Australian silicomanganese imports. The Department of Commerce has already confirmed the case, whose petition was filed by Felman Production in February. Meanwhile in Europe, there is an ongoing case filed by certain domestic producers over imports of Indian silicomanganese. Ukraine is in a similar battle with the Eurasian Economic Commission. The outcome of these trade cases could greatly affect the flow of silicomanganese around the world.

Prices for European silicomanganese were sideways over the past week, with the CRU Ryan's Notes' range holding at €805-860 per mt, DDP. Despite currency pressures, there seemed to be a disconnect among recent transactions between the trade and domestic producers. Many sources expect to see some price appreciation in the near future, as some mills may book material in the new fiscal year.