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Market Tendency On Imports Of Ferro-Alloys At 25th December 2009
= Reflecting Purchases From Japan, All Prices Of Chinese Ferro-Alloys (Excluding Si-Mn) Are Rising
The market tendency by item on imports of ferro-alloys into Japan at the 25th December of 2009 is as follows ;

<> General view = The largely fluctuated exchange rate of Japanese Yen against US-Dollar in December has shaken considerably the businesses to import ferro-alloys into Japan. While the exchange rate has returned to the level of US$1.00 : Yen 91 - 92 as prevailed in November, it is wondered whether this aspect is able to stabilize prices of ferro-alloys or not, and the parties concerned will still see some opaque part for the near future. On the other hand, all prices of Chinese ferro-alloys, excluding that of silico-manganese, have been ignited. The background is that Japanese side is now moving to purchase ferro-alloys, because it was known that the quantities of ferro-alloys stocked at steel companies, mainly major blast furnace mills, have become thin. Also, Lunar New Year holidays in China come in February. In view of these circumstances, it is necessary for Japanese side to supplement the stocks of ferro-alloys to be consumed in the first quarter (January - March) of 2010 and the Japanese companies concerned, including part of trading companies which have delayed to start their purchases, are now moving to book ferro-alloys to be imported in the first quarter. These activities have caused to stimulate prices of ferro-alloys to import into Japan in the near future.

<> Ferro-silicon = The steel industry of Japan consumed ferro-silicon with half of that in the preceding year of 2008 until September of 2009 and, consequently, the quantity of ferro-silicon imported into Japan to cover the consumption had also decreased to half of the imports in 2008. However, steel companies in Japan have moved from November to purchase ferro-silicon. The reason, why trading companies had delayed to commit their new imports of ferro-silicon, is due to the difficulties to judge a timing for new purchases by taking into consideration of the decreased consumption of this ferro-alloy and the strengthened exchange rate of Yen against US-Dollar. Therefore, many of the companies concerned have delayed to move to purchase new cargoes of ferro-silicon. Since Japan is now in the market to purchase ferro-silicon after an interval of one year, Chinese shippers have taken a bullish attitude toward their sales of ferro-silicon. The market price of Chinese ferro-silicon to import into Japan is currently rising day by day from the middle of December and it is hard to foresee how extent does price of Chinese ferro-silicon rise but the prices of Chinese ferro-silicon as of the 25th of December as offered by Chinese shippers are in the range of US$1,300 - 1,350 per metric ton FOB, which has risen by US$100 per ton from that in the week before last and covered an increase of the cost caused by a raise of electricity fees. However, the latest prices of ferro-silicon actually contracted are in the range of US$1,300 per metric ton CIF Japan as a higher side and US$1,250 CIF as a lower side and also the highest price on US$ base concluded with electric furnace mills is US$1,230 CIF for quarterly contracts. The Yen price of ferro-silicon settled for shipment in a single month has risen by Yen 2,000 per ton from that for the previous month.

<> Silico-manganese = Chinese side is offering silico-manganese at US$1,400 per metric ton CIF Japan but none of trading companies in Japan is able to accept this offer. The matter, having diversified the sources to import silico-manganese into Japan, has shown its effectiveness. Indian silico-manganese was once offered at US$1,250 per metric ton CIF Japan but this price already disappeared from the market and Indian suppliers are now offering silico-manganese at US$1,300 CIF, which is a nearer level to that offered from China. Indian silico-manganese has concluded more contracts than those settled on Chinese silico-manganese. Under the present situation, which the demand for silico-manganese in Japan has been depressed, Japanese side has held an enough margin to cover the requirements of silico-manganese by supplies from India, South Africa and Ukraine. Owing to the fact that the sources to import silico-manganese into Japan have diversified, a pace to rise price of this ferro-alloy is slow in comparison with that of ferro-silicon. However, India has transformed in principle to the country to import manganese ore as raw material and, accordingly, has been influenced by the offensive to rise price of manganese ore as taken by mines in Australia and South Africa. Therefore, as regards manganese ore as raw material for production of silico-manganese, India is under the same situation as that of China and Indian side has an intention to rise their price of silico-manganese for Japan to a similar level to that of Chinese product.

<> Charge chrome = A reduction of 2 US-Cents per lb. of Cr as settled with South African producers on charge chrome for shipments in January - March quarter of 2010 has been evaluated variously but is supposed to have reflected a depression of the stainless steel industry in Europe. In view of the sluggish market of stainless steel products, it is thought to be necessary for stainless steel companies in Europe to symbolize this reduction of the benchmark price, but it is not clear yet whether this settlement of the price is able to relate with a reduction of the benchmark price for charge chrome to be shipped in April - June quarter or not. However, spot cargoes of Indian high carbon ferro-chrome are increasing to be sold to China and the prices have risen up to the level of 85 - 88 US-Cents per lb. of Cr CIF. Indian high carbon ferro-chrome is being currently offered at 90 US-Cents CIF. Owing to the problems of the environmental pollution, Indian mines are unable to produce chrome ore in order.

<> Low carbon ferro-chrome = The prices of low carbon ferro-chrome with carbon 0.1% max. contracted with special steel companies in Japan for shipments in January - March quarter of 2010 have been centralized on the level of 173 - 175 US-Cents per lb. of Cr CIF, having fallen by more than 5 US-Cents compared with those settled for the preceding quarter of October - December of 2009. The consumption of low carbon ferro-chrome in Japan has declined to a considerable extent and, in consequence of this severe situation, a priority has been given to the quantity to be sold.

<> Manganese metal = Reflecting a raise of electricity fees enforced in China, domestic price of electrolytic manganese metal in China has risen by CNY1,000 per ton to CNY14,800 per metric ton ex. plant. Under the situation, which Chinese producers of manganese metal have been suffering from a 50% of its operation rate as lowered against nominal capacity, the Central Government of China has specified main bases to produce electrolytic manganese metal as the objective areas to reduce its facilities and, therefore, an aftereffect of this policy is supposed to come up hereafter to the surface with a decrease of the quantity to be supplied. The price of Chinese electrolytic manganese metal for export is on a basic tone to rise and Chinese shippers are now offering this metal at a higher price of US$2,850 per metric ton FOB and the actual price contracted on the 25th of December has risen to US$2,820 per metric ton CIF Japan.

<> Molybdenum = Market price of molybdenum oxide once continued to remain unchanged but, then, turned to rise somewhat. However, a reasonable level of price for molybdenum oxide has come to US$11.60 - 12.00 per lb. of Mo CIF Japan by a slight rise. Also, market price of ferro-molybdenum has rebounded to a nearer level to US$30 per kg. of Mo CIF Japan.

<> Ferro-vanadium = Dealers are offering ferro-vanadium at US$21 - 23 per kg. of V CIF Japan by a rise of US$0.50 per kg. from that in the middle of December.
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