NEW YORK Silicomanganese prices have softened as a dearth of fourth-quarter inquiries has led sellers to sharpen their bids.
"It looks like the fourth quarter is going to be ugly from a requirement standpoint, so people are trying to secure the business that they can," one market source said.
Prices are now between 58 and 61 cents per pound, down from 60 to 62 cents previously, with fourth-quarter business concluded at the low end of the range, while truckload sales were reported at the upper end in the past week.
A source at one end-user reportedly secured material at lower price levels for the fourth quarter, albeit not on a spot basis.
There was some anticipation in late August that tightening global supplies could firm prices in the fourth quarter (amm.com, Aug. 24), but softening demand due to sluggish steel production rates and a recent proliferation of imports have nixed that expectation.
"People are just not coming out for large quantities," one trader said.
U.S. imports of silicomanganese shot up to 54,148 tonnes in July, the highest monthly level this year, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Customs Bureau. The main overseas suppliers were Georgia (22,206 tonnes) and South Africa (14,749 tonnes).