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CHINA FERROCHROME: Import price edges up to 84-85 cents/lb CIF

Highlights

The spot price for South African charge chrome (48-52% Cr) imported into China was assessed by Platts at 84-85 cents/lb CIF China on Friday, up from 83-84 cents/lb CIF a week ago, following a deal closed in the range and higher price ideas from Chinese buyers.

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This week, a Chinese steelmaker bought 5,000 mt of charge chrome from a South African producer at 84-85 cents/lb CIF East China port, for arrival at the end of March. No other deals were heard this week, but other market participants said the price was repeatable.

A trader in North China said she received offers for charge chrome at 84-85 cents/lb CIF this week, and believed the range is acceptable for Chinese buyers. "The price of 83 cents/lb is very hard to get now as it would be too low compared to domestic prices," she said. The trader did not close any charge chrome deals this week as her customers did not have any need for imports.

The domestic spot prices of high carbon ferrochrome (50% Cr) in China was at Yuan 6,750-6,900/mt - which is equivalent to 84-86 cents/lb - on Wednesday, according to sources. The price has been steady since December 18 last year.


Overseas suppliers have tended to adjust their offers according to prevailing domestic Chinese prices, while Chinese buyers typically purchase imports based on price attractiveness of imports compared with domestic ferrochrome.

Meanwhile, the spot price of India-origin high carbon ferrochrome (58-60% Cr) was assessed unchanged week on week at 84-86 cents/lb CIF China on Friday. No deals could be confirmed. Offers were heard at 85-87 cents/lb CIF this week, but most sources pegged the tradeable price at 84-86 cents/lb CIF.

Some industry observers had expected import prices to rise after the Lunar New Year holidays, following higher benchmark contract settlements in Europe and Japan for the January-March quarter. Raw material prices had also in the past risen after the Lunar New Year holiday, as Chinese steelmakers resume their procurement, boosting demand in the market.

Sources expect to see clearer price trends in the coming week as more Chinese participants return to the market. The Lunar New Year holiday in China was over January 31-February 6 this year, but some companies only reopen after February 14, which is the 15th day of the Lunar New Year.

--Vivian Teo, vivian.teo@platts.com
--Edited by Deepa Vijiyasingam, deepa.vijiyasingam@platts.com