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Ferrochrome outlook mixed amid demand uncertainty

Keywords: Tags  ferrochrome, ferrochrome prices, ferrochrome demand, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Ferrochrome prices remained steady this past week, but with an uncertain demand outlook traders are divided on whether the market is poised for price increases or further drops.

High-carbon ferrochrome continued to trade in a range of 99 cents to $1.02 per pound, while 0.10-percent-carbon ferrochrome was steady in a range of $1.96 to $2.02 per pound.

Market participants presented varied outlooks on demand for ferrochrome in the coming months.

"I’ve done a lot of cold calls over the past week to maybe 120 foundries, and every single one has said business is extremely slow," one trader said. "There seems to be a disconnect between what’s happening in the wider economy and ferroalloys. Where are all the orders? Not everything can be on contract."

A second trader disagreed. "Demand for low-carbon (material) is quite good. My deliveries year on year are up quite significantly over the past few months, though I’m not sure as to why," he said. "There are very few spot inquiries, but customers are taking what we expect them to take and they’re meeting forecasts. I’m visiting all the major stainless mills and I’d say generally they’re at 80 to 85 percent of capacity. The problem here is that construction needs to come back to get them into (the) 90s."

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