LONDON Eti Krom AS expects higher chrome ore prices in the first quarter of 2013, the Turkish producer said as it announced prices for January through March.
Turkish chrome production will fall over the winter, but production costs will rise due to lower productivity and higher labor costs, according to Robert Yildirim, president of Eti Kroms parent company, Istanbul-based Yilidirim Group.
Eti Kroms prices for 42-percent grade lumpy ore will be $260 to $265 per tonne c.f.r. Chinese ports in January, rising to $270 to $275 per tonne in February and $280 to $285 per tonne in March.
China imported 7.9 million tonnes of chrome ore from January through October 2012, unchanged from 2011, even as domestic ferrochrome production increased, Yildirim said.
"In other words, Chinese ferrochrome producers have consumed a lot of chrome ore from stocks at Chinese ports since ferrochrome production in China increased despite fewer imports from South Africa," he said. "We believe that the stocks are mainly South African ores. Therefore, Chinese buyers will demand more higher-grade ore and low-grade lumpy ore from Turkey, Pakistan and Albania. That will trigger higher ore prices in the first quarter 2013."
Turkish chrome ore, basis 40 to 42 percent, is trading at $230 to $250 per tonne c.f.r. main Chinese ports. That is unchanged since Sept. 14, when prices fell $10 at each end of the trading range.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.