Inoxum buyout clouds ferrochrome benchmark

Apr 12, 2012 | 08:30 AM |

Outokumpu’s planned acquisition of ThyssenKrupp’s stainless steel unit and the leading role of stainless producer Aperam in recent quarterly ferro-chrome pricing talks have raised questions over who will negotiate prices with ferro-chrome suppliers Xstrata and Glencore in the future, and whether the benchmark system itself will last the year.

The European benchmark price for charge and high-carbon ferro-chrome has traditionally been settled by Xstrata, with marketing partner Glencore, and ThyssenKrupp’s stainless unit Inoxum, which Outokumpu plans to take over this year.

The quarterly settlement for ferro-chrome, which is an essential raw material for all stainless steel production, is under growing pressure, though.
“It’s becoming more and more discredited; all it needs is one more push,” a steel mill source told Metal Bulletin. “If Inoxum and Outokumpu tie up you’re saying the main benchmark setter [Inoxum] can’t contribute to that process and that they’ve then contributed to their own selling price and everyone else’s.” ....

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