NEW YORK Domestic suppliers of high-carbon ferrochrome have expressed concern that DLA Strategic Materials offer this past week, the first in 17 months, may lead to a further decrease in prices.
"It wasnt encouraging; lets put it that way," one trader said, citing the current weak market environment.
Domestic high-carbon ferrochrome prices are now between $1 and $1.03 per pound, a 34-month low, with truckload sales reported in that range this past week.
The offer was for 1,000 tons of 65-percent (chrome contained) material from the agencys Point Pleasant, W.Va., depot, an agency spokesman told AMM.
The Fort Belvoir, Va.-based agency, which is permitted to sell 65,204 tons of ferrochrome in the current fiscal year, has not offered high-carbon ferrochrome since May 2011.
While sources said a sale would add to oversupply in the domestic market, some took comfort in the knowledge that interest might be scant.
"Im not thrilled about (the offer), but it takes a brave man to go out there (and buy it) in this market," a second trader said.
Demand from stainless mills, the largest consumers of ferrochrome, especially has fallen in recent months as their customers are loathe to hold inventory due to uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections and volatile nickel prices.
Stainless distributors told AMM that they were holding back from buying until the outcome of the election is clear. Some said they will buy more stainless should Mitt Romney win the election given the perception that he is more pro-business.