SHANGHAI, Mar. 25 (SMM) –
Prices of spot manganese ore declined sharply last week, with the exception of South African high-iron manganese ore. Prices for selected categories were down RMB 1/mtu on a weekly basis. The price decline is due mainly to growing arrivals and tepid demand downstream. Trading volumes were little changed from the previous week. Overseas suppliers, led by BHP, have been raising CIF prices and strictly controlling the amount of manganese ore shipped to China so as to have an absolute control on prices. Market players note that continuously falling manganese ore prices in China’s domestic markets and steadily rising CIF prices are deterring Chinese traders from importing.
In the Port of Tianjin, the mainstream traded price for Australian manganese ore (Mn48%, lump) was RMB 47.5/mtu; RMB 40.5/mtu for South African mixed carbonate manganese ore (Mn38%, lump), and RMB 39.5/mtu for South African high-iron manganese ore (Mn35-36%, Fe18%). In Southern ports, the mainstream traded price for Australian manganese ore (Mn48%, lump) was RMB 45.5/mtu; RMB 38.5/mtu for South African high-iron manganese ore (Mn35-36%, Fe20%); RMB 39-39.5/mtu for South African mixed carbonate manganese ore (Mn38%, lump), and RMB 47/mtu for Australian high-silicon manganese ore (Mn36%, Si20%).
Inventories at Chinese ports were 2.65 million mt last week, with 1.23 million mt in the Port of Tianjin, up 30,000 mt on a weekly basis, and 900,000 mt in the Port of Qinzhou, also up 50,000 mt from the previous week. Operating rates at manganese alloy producers in south China will rise after power tariff is lowered with the onset of rainy season, allowing traders in southern ports to hold offers firm. In contrast, manganese alloy producers in northern ports tried to push for lower input costs since operating rates in north China will unlikely grow further.
Last week, rebar prices edged up, while wire rod prices inched down. Prices for hot-rolled coil rose sharply, and more regions saw an increase in M&H plate prices. Steel mills will likely raise steel product prices given the current big gap between ex-works prices and market prices.
Jupiter Mines has secured a shipping agreement for its Tshipi Borwa manganese mine with Transnet. First ore at TshipiBorwa was mined in October last year, and the project has to date loaded onto Transnet rail using the Tshipi rail siding. Three ore shipments have been made to date, with a total of 88,000 mt sold since December. Jupiter owns the mine in a joint venture with the Ntsimbintle SPV.
Manganese ore prices will continue to drop, with a RMB 1/mtu price decline in imported manganese ore expected this week.