NEW YORK Low-carbon
ferrochrome producers, who have been unhappy with the narrow
spread between low- and high-carbon ferrochrome prices this
year and a growing discount to the European market, have been
pushing up prices.
"Theres been a serious
effort by the big producers to get the price up to a more
traditional premium (to high-carbon ferrochrome), and its
slowly gaining some acceptance from people," one trader
Prices for 0.10-percent
low-carbon ferrochrome rose to between $2.13 and $2.17 per
pound Thursday from $2.10 and $2.12 per pound previously.
Prices had been stuck in a range between $2.08 and $2.12 per
pound since mid-February.
The spread between 0.10-percent
low-carbon and high-carbon ferrochrome has been around the low-
to mid-90-cents-per-pound mark so far this year. This time last
year, the spread was more than $1 per pound, and has
traditionally been closer to the $1.10-per-pound level,
according to sources.
"Producers were probably
starting to ask themselves why they were even making low-carbon
ferrochrome at those ($2.10-per-pound) prices," one market
A recent uptick in European
prices, led by one large producer raising its sales prices for
0.10-percent ferrochrome, according to sources, has also given
domestic suppliers more confidence.
"(One large producer) announced
that they were increasing their pricing to $2.30 per pound
(this past week)," a second trader said, with the market source
adding that transactions in Europe had already been concluded
at close to the $2.30-per-pound mark this past week.
Most of the low-carbon
ferrochrome in the United States comes from Russia and
Kazakhstan; shipping costs mean the domestic market usually
trades at a premium to European product, according to market
Prices have been lower in the
United States this year due to continued sales of stockpiled
low-carbon ferrochrome by DLA Strategic Materials, and sources
expressed concern about increased sales from the agency now
that prices have risen.
"I think they might interpret it
in the wrong way and start selling more material since they
feel like theres a shortage," the market source said,
adding that while prices are rising on producer pushback,
demand for the material has remained steady.
The price rise is "not
consumption-driven," he said.
Other forms of low-carbon ferrochrome have also benefited
from the price push, with 0.15-percent ferrochrome now trading
between $2.06 and $2.11 per pound, up from $2.05 and $2.06 per
pound previously, while 0.05-percent material is now between
$2.33 and $2.38 per pound, up from $2.30 and $2.33 per pound