NEW YORK Low-carbon
ferrochrome prices have weakened slightly on light spot demand,
aggressive selling by some traders, and the impact of DLA
Prices for 0.05-percent material
slipped to $2.21 to $2.24 per pound from $2.22 to $2.25
previously, while the range for 0.10-percent carbon ferrochrome
narrowed to $2.06 to $2.08 per pound from $2.06 to $2.09.
Traders told AMM that
spot market activity has been especially quiet during the past
week, with some citing the Passover and Easter holidays but
many others lamenting a more sustained industry slowdown.
"The price here in the U.S. is
too low and were trying to bring it up in balance with
the rest of the world, but theres simply a lack of demand
and limited spot inquiries," one trader said. "Most of the
major spot buyers from the end of 2012 have been converted into
contract buyers, and there arent enough new orders being
generated to cause them to come pick up on the spot
"Business has slowed down
dramatically," a second trader said. "Ive been traveling
non-stop over the past few weeks. I called 65 foundries that we
do business with, and every single one said that business was
steady or slowing down. Not one of them
said that business was good. Most of my customers tell me
theyre running at around 65 to 75 percent of capacity.
And the demand that is out there is being taken care of by
Both traders said that
0.13-percent carbon ferrochrome sold by the DLA was typically
being blended and then resold as 0.10-percent material at
prices that undercut the rest of the market.
"Everyone knows about it and no
one complains, but that has hurt pricing. There is simply not
enough low-carbon demand to eat up all of that DLA tonnage and
then some. As much as wed like the low-carbon prices to
go up, its difficult when the DLA (sales) put a ceiling
on the market," the first trader said.
The DLAs most recent
offering840,000 pounds of 0.13-percent carbon ferrochrome
and 840,000 pounds of 0.15-percent materialclosed March
amm.com, March 19).
There also were unconfirmed
reports of high-carbon ferrochrome selling below
AMMs published range of $1 to $1.05 per
"All that talk that high-carbon
ferrochrome is supposed to go up, its a load of crap,"
the second trader said.
"Were just waiting for a
blip in demand," the first trader said. "Theres not much
inventory here of high-carbon ferrochrome, so if demand picks
up prices could jump 5 to 10 percent."