NEW YORK High-carbon ferrochrome prices have risen for the second week in a row as producers push to lift prices off historically low levels.
Everybody has now decided from a producer standpoint that we have to try to raise these prices. The market found a bottom last week sometime when the Chinese market started to turn around and chrome ore picked up, one trader said.
Market sources said earlier this month that sentiment had started to improve amid a sense that the market had bottomed out (amm.com, Dec. 14
). That positive momentum has continued as December progresses, sources said.
Prices are now in a range of 99 cents to $1.02 per pound, narrowing from 96 cents to $1.02 per pound previously, with intertrade business for truckload quantities reported across the range this past week.
Tags dropped as low as 94 cents per pound in late November, a 34-month low, as consumption was poor and the market in oversupply (amm.com, Nov. 30
But recent shutdowns by South African ferrochrome producers and a sense that domestic stocks might be tighter than expected have buoyed sentiment.
Imports of the material over the first 10 months of the year have fallen 9.7 percent to 382,217 tonnes compared with the same period in 2011, according to the latest figures from U.S. Customs.
Sentiment is a little bit better than before, and there doesnt appear that theres as much inventory out there as you might expect, the trader said.
Market sources also cited the completion of most long-term business for 2013, which was again largely done using discounts off published prices, as a reason for the spot price increase.
Now that the long-terms are done, the producers are trying to get the prices up, a second trader said.