CHICAGO Spot silicon
prices in the United States have strengthened in recent weeks,
bolstered by tighter supplies and better demand, according to
some market sources.
AMM spot silicon prices
have edged up to a range of $1.23 to $1.28 per pound from $1.22
to $1.27 previously.
One supplier source told
AMM that he was "a little taken aback" that some
people were still referring to prices in the low $1.20s. He
said his company was quoting business in the $1.30s and
recently had done business at as high as $1.36 per pound,
albeit for less-than-truckload quantities.
Offshore silicon supplies have
been disrupted as a result of electricity issues in Brazil (
amm.com, Nov. 15) and South Africa (
amm.com, Dec. 13), a producer source and others
noted. "With the supply-side curtailments, I dont see how
prices can do anything but go up," the producer source
A second supplier source said
his company had recently done business for volumes of at least
one truckload, or roughly 20 tonnes, at between $1.25 and $1.30
per pound. He chalked up what he characterized as a stronger
market to increased automotive demand combined with reduced
"Prices have definitely moved
up. But the spot market is thin," the second producer source
said, noting that consumers were taking advantage of contracts
already negotiated at lower prices. "We see the market
strengthening. But its not a runaway market by any
A trader said that his company
also had done business at between $1.25 and $1.30 per pound,
with one deallikely not representative of the wider
marketat $1.32 per pound. He characterized the spot
market as "quiet" and wondered about the impact of Brazilian
players coming back into the market, speculating that they may
have to reduce prices in order to regain traction in the U.S.
Other sources said a possible
labor stoppage at U.S. ports also might impact supplies.
Talks between the International
Longshoremens Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance
continue in an effort to reach a new labor agreement for 15,000
container workers before the current master contract expires
Feb. 6 (
amm.com, Jan. 17).
But while the majority of market
participants AMM spoke to said prices were up sharply
and supplies limited, some contended that supplies were not
tight enough to drive prices up much, if at all.
"Suppliers are trying to
convince me that prices are moving up to $1.25 to $1.28 (per
pound), but Im not going to let that happen," one
consumer source said. "I can get all the silicon I want. I
dont see any tightness."