NEW YORK Ferrovanadium
prices continue to rise as domestic producers see solid
contract demand and imports from foreign converters dwindle due
to tightness in the Chinese vanadium pentoxide market.
"The demand for us is pretty
good. (Consumers) feel guardedly optimistic about the first and
second quarter," one producer source said, adding that strong
demand from contract customers means he hasnt been able
to sell larger quantities of spot material despite numerous
inquiries from both consumers and traders.
A second producer source said
that he hasnt been active in the spot market at all as
his available material was fully committed on contracts.
As a result, one trader has
struggled recently to buy material. "I havent been able
to get (it)," he said.
Ferrovanadium prices moved
to $14.50 to $14.90 per pound Jan. 24 from $13.50 to
$14.50 per pound previously, with spot business for truckload
quantities reported at the top end of the range and offers
pegged as high as $15 per pound this past week.
The lack of availability from
China comes as a result of stricter enforcement of legislation
that mandates more vanadium content in rebar (
amm.com, Jan. 11).
At the same time, a second
trader said production of vanadium pentoxide from stone
coalwhich had increased significantly after a sharp rise
in prices for the material in 2008 despite its high production
costhas fallen significantly as the price has since
fallen below the production cost for some producers.
"The real reason for the price
move is the fact that the inventory levels in China are now
down to reasonable levels; in 2008, about 10,000 tonnes (of
vanadium pentoxide) was produced from stone coal. In 2012,
production was about 2,000 tonnes," he said.
U.S. imports of ferrovanadium
fell to 355 tonnes in November, the lowest level of 2012 thus
far, from 470 tonnes in October, according to the latest
figures from U.S. Customs.