Ferroalloys Prices in Europe are still on the way up
Ferroalloys prices in Europe in February continued the upward trajectory they have been on since the start of the year. Ferromolybdenum and ferrovanadium, as well as manganese metal, were supported by the corresponding price increase in China, caused by both the growing demand of Chinese consumers and increase in production costs. Rising prices for manganese, silicon, and chrome alloys were supported by a new surge in demand from steel producers in Europe.
Manganese and Silicon
As month before, offer prices on the European market are rising ahead of the prices in deals. During February, offers of standard FeSi (75% Si min, 1.5% Al max) steadily exceeded the €1400 per mt mark, while final transaction prices were still €30-50 per mt lower. The weighted average Metalshub price index rose by 7.5% during the month. It is worth noting that with the abolition of import duties on ferrosilicon in the UK as a result of Brexit, a significant market share during January-February was taken by Russian producers: according to some industry experts, ferrosilicon from Russia currently covers up to 70% of UK steelmakers' needs. In turn, competitors' redirection of their products to the EU market could significantly slow down price growth in the segment.
Along with a slowdown in freight rate increases, metal flakes prices in Europe also stabilized in February, with more than 90% of the local market being sourced from China. Metalshub's weighted average price index for manganese metal flakes was not subject to significant fluctuations during February. However, in March a new round of manganese price growth could be fueled by a further increase of manganese ore prices on the world market, which will certainly affect inputs of Chinese manganese smelters.
The weighted average price index for high-carbon ferromanganese based on contracts negotiated on the Metalshub digital platform rose 4% in February, mainly driven by increased demand from steel producers in Europe.
In February, alloys production constraints in China (the world's largest FeCr importer) triggered a sharp rise in ferrochrome prices in other markets as well - including Europe. The weighted average Metalshub price index for high-carbon ferrochrome was up 16% in February, while the price for the low-carbon alloy increased by 8%. Taking advantage of the favorable market environment in February, one of the world's largest producers, Tikhvin Ferroalloys Plant (part of Yildirim Group) resumed production at all three furnaces that had been idle since late Q3 last year. As a reminder, Russia is the third-largest supplier of chrome alloys to the EU market after South Africa and Kazakhstan.
Molybdenum and Vanadium
The weighted average price index on the Metalshub platform soared by 20% in February, stabilizing towards the end of the month. Two factors contributed to the price jump. Firstly, Chinese consumers increased import purchases after the seasonal holidays, triggering price rises in other regions as well. Second, ongoing maintenance work at mines in Brazil, the world's largest supplier of vanadium pentoxide, supported prices for the raw material needed to produce the alloy.
After a relative period of stability in January, European prices resumed rising in February. The weighted average Metalshub price index rose by 17%. Prices, in addition to similar price dynamics in China, were supported at the beginning of the month by speculations about alleged problems with product supply from Chile. However, amid the subdued demand, European FeMo sellers mostly stabilized their quotations by the end of February.
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