Medium-carbon ferromanganese prices have dropped to their
lowest level in nearly four years, flummoxing traders who
believe that market fundamentals should not have engendered a
medium-carbon ferromanganese price range is 84 to 86 cents per
pound, down from 86 to 88 cents previously, with unconfirmed
transactions reported below 84 cents per pound.
It is the lowest
trading range for medium-carbon ferromanganese since August
2009, when the product was between 80 and 85 cents per pound.
While traders acknowledged that spot trading activity has been
scarce, some were confused by the price drop.
"I thought there was
some sentiment that medium-carbon would go up. Ive been
checking the import records and no one has been bringing it in.
Medium-carbon material is in so few hands," one trader
Data compiled by the
U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade
Commission indicates a marked drop in medium-carbon
ferromanganese imports in the first five months of 2013
compared with last year.
A total of 3,624
tonnes (3,995 tons) were imported into the United States in May
and 6,345 tonnes (6,994 tons) in April vs. 9,832 tonnes (10,838
tons) in May 2012 and 11,179 tonnes (12,323 tons) in April
2012, according to the most recent available data. Year-to-date
imports of 16,718 tonnes (18,428 tons) were down 35.2 percent
from 25,803 tonnes (28,443 tons) in the first five months of
"There are only small
opportunities on medium-carbon. The third-quarter buying has
been done, and now theres very little spot activity going
on. You would see more spot activity if consumers had
underestimated their requirements, but we dont see that,"
a second trader said. "I would define this as a good period to
do some forward planning for the fourth quarter, in
anticipation of fourth-quarter business being a bit
A third trader said he
believes the medium-carbon market is being pulled down by a
company selling at low pricesin order to pull published
prices downrather than market fundamentals similar to
that recently reported in the silicomanganese market (
amm.com, July 12).
"You cant even
get Chinese material for 83 cents per pound," he said. "As much
as suppliers want to do business with people and sell product,
there is a limit."