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Noble alloys traders eye improved market in '13

Keywords: Tags  noble alloys, 28th International Ferro-Alloys Conference, ferroalloys, Claire Hack

BERLIN — The noble alloys market is expected to improve, but only because the situation can’t get any worse, according to traders.

"People have got used to it. They are optimistic for next year because it’s all we have at the moment," one trader told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin on the sidelines of its 28th International Ferro-Alloys Conference in Berlin. "We’ve been so accustomed to crisis that we’ve started thinking it has to pick up. We’re ready to go into next year, and we’re hoping for the best."

And some traders have been able to benefit from the volatility in prices and have taken opportunities to fix forward prices at low levels and then covered when the market fell.

"We would like to see prices go up sometimes as well, though," the trader added.

In theory, consumers of noble alloys should also benefit from lower prices. But because they have been forced to produce less, they are also buying less. Their own order books are a more pressing concern to them than raw materials prices.

In ferromolybdenum, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make money on conversion contracts as prices for end products fall while molybdic oxide prices remain relatively stable, the trader said.

"Producers are cutting back on shipping. I get the feeling we’re close to the bottom, though—there can’t be much more room to go down," he said. "The prices are very depressed (for ferromolybdenum). Whenever there’s any business, everybody’s competing for it."

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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