China's domestic spot prices for high carbon ferrochrome (50% basis Cr) on Wednesday were assessed unchanged week on week at Yuan 7,000-7,100/mt (equivalent to 86-87 cents/lb), on a delivered basis including value added tax, amid mixed views in the market.
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Some traders complained of tight supply while others said material was available and demand was slow.
"We have more customers asking for material," a North China trader said. "It seems like material is not easily available in Shanghai and the eastern coastal area. Many suppliers we asked didn't have material as well."
The trader had bought at Yuan 7,100/mt this week, but she noted that it was hard to find suppliers willing to sell at this price.
A trader in Beijing also said high carbon ferrochrome supply was tight. "There are output cuts among smelters who are experiencing losses," he said. The trader pegged prices at Yuan 7,200-7,300/mt, but the range was not considered repeatable among other market participants.
Others, however, said they did not experience an increase in inquiries this week. "I don't think there is supply tightness, if not we would have received more inquiries," said a Hong Kong trader. He noted that the market, in fact, could be under some pressure following a decline in benchmark European ferrochrome prices for the third quarter.
Some traders also pointed out that Chinese demand tends to slow during summer due to maintenance at the mills while weakening chrome ore prices could mean ferrochrome prices lose support.
"The market seems stable for now. But sentiment is not good because of the weak stainless steel market," said a Beijing-based analyst.