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CHINA FERROCHROME: Buyers hold out for lower import prices

Highlights

Spot prices for ferrochrome and charge chrome imported into China were steady this week on a lack of deals as Chinese buyers held out for lower prices due to an absence of movement in China's domestic market.

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Offers for Indian-origin high carbon ferrochrome were heard at 86-90 cents/lb CIF China this week, up from 86-89 cents/lb CIF the previous week as Indian producers kept offer prices high following the appreciation of the rupee against the US dollar.

But buyers remained resistant to prices above 85 cents/lb and market participants pegged the tradable price for high carbon ferrochrome (58-60% Cr) at 84-85 cents/lb CIF on Friday, unchanged week-on-week.


Deals and offers for South African charge chrome were sparse this week as well. Sources indicated the tradeable price for charge chrome (48-52% Cr) at 84-85 cents/lb CIF on Friday, also unchanged on the week.

Chinese buyers were only amenable to prices at 85 cents/lb CIF or lower as Chinese domestic prices had held steady over the past few months, and also because major Chinese stainless steelmakers were due to release their November ferrochrome bid prices by month-end, therefore buyers were unwilling to raise their purchase prices at present, sources said.

Two traders in Shanghai said they had offered Indian ferrochrome at 86 cents/lb CIF to their customers this week but could not strike any deals.

"Our customers are looking for material at 84-85 cents/lb CIF. The steelmakers' bid prices are not out yet so they do not dare to simply raise their buying price. But should the steelmakers' November bid price rise, buyers will immediately say okay to 86 cents/lb," said one trader. "For now there is still a gap between buyers' and sellers' price ideas."

An Indian producer said he was still in talks to sell around 2,000/mt of ferrochrome to Chinese steelmakers and conceded that deals at higher than 85 cents/lb CIF could be difficult to close.

"Sentiments are weak now. The market is quiet and not many people are looking for material," he said. "If the market does not pick up, sentiments may start going down."

The Chinese domestic spot price of high carbon ferrochrome (50% basis Cr) was at Yuan 6,850-7,000/metric ton (85-86.5 cents/pound), delivered with 17% VAT, on Wednesday. The price had remained at this range since late-July.

--Vivian Teo, Vivian.teo@platts.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@platts.com