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Japan ferrochrome: Prices fall to 82-83 cents/lb after six stable weeks

Tokyo — Platts assessed spot import price of high carbon ferrochrome into Japan at 82 cents-83 cents/lb CIF Japan Friday, down from 83 cents-84 cents/lb CIF for the last six weeks.

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One steelmaker in south Japan is seeking 10-50 mm lumps with minimum 60% chrome content, maximum 3% silicon, around 8% carbon, maximum 0.03% phosphorus and maximum 0.05% sulfur for July to September delivery to its plant.

The mill has not decided on the total volume. Japanese traders said they were expecting 100-200 mt in total for the three-months period.

One Indian producer has offered 84 cents-85 cents/lb CIF Japan, June loading, while a Japanese trader placed a counter-bid at 82 cents/lb CIF Japan.

A second Indian producer said 83 cents/lb CIF was possible but would reject bids at 82 cents/lb CIF Japan.

Platts assessed this week's spot price at 82-83 cents/lb CIF Japan on the basis of the a bid at 82 cents/lb CIF Japan and a sales indication at 83 cents/lb CIF Japan.

Separately, a second Japanese trader reported buying from a third Indian producer several container loads of 10-50 mm lumps with minimum 60% chrome content, maximum 4% silicon, around 8% carbon, maximum 0.04% phosphorus and maximum 0.05% sulfur, at 81-82 cents/lb CIF Japan. The material is for June-July loading.

This deal was not taken into account, as the volume was less than 100 mt.

Platts assesses 10-100 mm lumps with minimum 60% chrome content, 2-4% silicon, around 8% carbon, 0.02-0.05% phosphorous and maximum 0.05% sulfur, for volumes higher than 100 mt.

Japanese traders blamed seasonal fall in demand during the third quarter for the price decline, while an Indian producer said an increase in South African charge chrome production during the first quarter was impacting India's export prices.

Merafe Resources of South Africa said its production in the first quarter of 2014 rose by 15% to 99,000 mt.

The Indian rupee climbed to 64.11 rupee to a US dollar this week, compared to rupee 63.50 last week, also allowed the producer to cut prices, said the second Japanese trader.

Meanwhile, 304 stainless scrap (8% nickel, 18% chrome) prices were heard in a wide range of Yen 145-Yen 155 ($1.17-$1.25)/kg delivered in the Kanto region, compared to a tighter range of around Yen 150/kg delivered last week.

One mill source said there were deals done above Yen 150/kg.

A trader said while sales prices to the mills were above Yen 150/kg, traders were buying at Yen 145/kg.

"Prices went down on the back of weak London Metal Exchange nickel prices, while some people attributed the weak yen raising the import costs of nickel and ferrochrome for higher scrap prices," said the trader.

The US dollar traded at Yen 124 Friday, compared to Yen 121.50 a week ago.

--Mayumi Watanabe,
--Edited by James Leech,