SHANGHAI, Feb 5 (SMM) – China’s imported manganese ore prices for March have increased from levels seen for February even as spot trading at Chinese ports has been sluggish.
South32 offered Australian ore with 46% Mn at $7.83/dmtu cif China, up $0.68/dmtu month on month. Comilog offered Gabonese ore with 44.5% Mn at $7.5/dmtu cif, up $0.5/dmtu from February, while Tshipi’s South African semi-carbonate ore with 36.5% Mn was also offered $0.5/dmtu higher at $7/dmtu.
Such increase was mainly due to good profits at Chinese ports and expectations of better demand after Chinese New Year.
Manganese ore inventory at Chinese ports has been at relatively low levels and the pre-holiday restocking requirement has supported transaction prices towards the end of January. SMM assessed spot Australian manganese ore with 46% Mn at 64.5 yuan/dmtu, reflecting a decent margin based on February’s import price at $7.15/dmtu cif China. This has prompted miners to increase their offers.
In addition, manganese alloy producers have also been operating in the black with better-than-average profits. As steel mills in north China are expected to procure more manganese alloys after the winter heating season ends on March 15, operating rates at alloy plants are expected to be strong after Chinese New Year.
Separately, the appreciating yuan against the US dollar has also supported the rise of dollar-denominated import prices.
SMM expects spot manganese ore prices to remain firm after Chinese New Year following the increase in imported price. However, there is also limited upward room as silicomanganese prices have stabilised and alloy manufacturers would be reluctant to accept much higher prices.
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