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Ryan’s Notes
April 10, 2015

US silicomanganese narrows, EU flat

Prices for US silicomanganese narrowed this past week to 51-53 cents per lb, ex-warehouse, as additional mills slowly entered the spot market in a sluggish steel market. US raw steel production dropped again for the week ended April 4, with production being 1,600,000 tons and a capability utilization rate of 67.7%. Most sources were optimistic that steel output would improve, but few felt that any turnaround would be seen in the near term.

Silicomanganese prices in the US have been under great pressure. While spot purchasing has been down greatly due to delayed intake at domestic mills, any buyer in the region has found rising competition among sellers to book the business. Sources were expecting to find some balance in the market in the short term, as several importers were expected to pull back on imports in the second half of this year due, but there was no immediate indication if prices would fall further before settling.

Meanwhile, the US International Trade Commission voted in favor of furthering its investigation into the alleged dumping of  Australian silicomanganese. All six commissioners voted in favor of the investigation. A preliminary determination of duties is expected on or near to July 29, 2015.

In Europe, prices were stable week on week at €805-850 per mt, DDP. Most sources felt that the market was in balance at the moment, as there did not appear to be any anticipated trend in the near term. Despite some sellers being rather tight on material, the supply situation has been supplemented by certain imports. Spot activity was down slightly over the past week, as a number of market participants were on holiday. While there are expectations that some additional mills may be late to book material for Q2, the consensus indicated that most quarterly buying had been completed ahead of the Easter and Passover holidays. Elsewhere, with the looming antidumping investigation of Indian silicomanganese in Europe, sources were abuzz ever since Indian authorities cancelled the country's 4% export incentive and rebate program for Indian producers.