In April, prices for bulk ferroalloys in Europe went mostly up, with most of this growth being supported by fundamental, rather than speculative, factors. In the chromium and noble alloys market, the price dynamics were less clear-cut.
First of all, the recovery of the steel market should be noted. Thus, according to Worldsteel, steel production in the EU (27) amounted to 37.8 million tonnes in Q1 2021, up 3.1% compared to the previous year. In other European countries, the growth rate was even higher at 8.3%, to 12.6 million tonnes.
The steel market in general, and ferroalloys as one of the most important raw materials for steel production in particular, is positively affected by the level of steel consumption. According to Eurofer estimates, in Q1 apparent steel consumption in the EU increased by 5%YoY, and forecasts for Q2 look very optimistic - up to 36% growth in consumption. The association largely attributes this to positive production forecasts for the main steel-consuming sectors - construction (+9.5%), machinery (+18.9%) and automotive (+62%).
Manganese and Silicon
After a brief period of stability in early April, ferrosilicon prices (75% Si min, 1.5% Al max) in Europe continued to rise amid strong end-user demand and a continued shortage of available volumes. Towards the end of the month, prices were also fueled by information about possible supply disruptions from Malaysia. The weighted average ferrosilicon price index on the Metalshub platform rose by 8% for the month.
Steady demand for high-carbon ferromanganese (75% Mn min, 8.5% C max, 0.25% P max) in Europe was caused by rising steel production. The weighted average price index for HC FeMn on the Metalshub platform rose by 11% in April. Market participants' expectations for further development of the situation are full of optimism, with major producers aiming for further price increases, some of them even holding on to the material, fueling demand in the market.
European manganese metal flakes prices remained largely unchanged in April, although by the end of the month they had slipped a bit on a similar trend in China and following the purchase of large volumes by a number of EU customers.
Molybdenum, Vanadium and Chrome
European ferromolybdenum prices were subject to fluctuations in April. In the middle of the month, prices fell sharply amid weak consumer demand, which refused to accept the price rises seen in the second half of March. However, by the end of April, as buying activity recovered and against a similar trend in China, FeMo prices in Europe strengthened again. As a result, the weighted average Metalshub index rose by 3.5% in April.
The increase in prices in China, due to stronger local demand, also supported ferrovanadium prices in Europe in April. The weighted average FeV index on the Metalshub trading platform rose by more than 6%.
Fluctuations in high-carbon ferrochrome prices in Europe were minimal in April. Falling ferroalloy’s prices in China had a negative impact on all other markets. The weighted average HC FeCr price index (60% Cr min, 1.5% Si max) on the Metalshub trading platform was up only $0.03/lb Cr by the end of April.
The Metalshub Price Discovery Service gives you access to weekly updated price indices based on real data from market transactions on different ferroalloys.