LONDON European ferrochrome prices have fallen to their lowest levels in nearly three years amid low demand, high inventories and growth in Chinese production.
And while widespread first-half shutdowns in South Africa under power buyback deals with Johannesburg-based state power group Eskom led to short-term supply concerns, they ultimately werent enough to bring the market into balance.
The South African industry is calling for consolidation, further cutbacks and an export tax to stanch the flow of chrome ore to China.
South Africas ferrochrome industry depends on Eskoms ability to generate sufficient affordable power. Without it, even the best-laid plans will become irrelevant.
The benchmark pricing system becomes less credible every quarter, but no market participant has proposed an alternative.
High-carbon ferrochrome is trading at 90 to 98 cents per pound in Europe, down 17 percent from this time last year.