SHANGHAI, Dec 27 (SMM) – Prices of imported manganese ore in China rose this week, as downstream consumers continued stockpiling and second-tier traders returned to make small purchases.
At Tianjin port, Australian manganese ore with Mn 45% was mostly offered at 41-42 yuan/mtu as of Friday December 27, up 1.5 yuan/mtu from a week ago. Mainstream quotas for South African semi-carbonate ore with Mn 36%, inched up 0.5 yuan/mtu to 36.5-37 yuan/mtu, and those for cargoes originating from Gabon, with Mn 44%, rose 1 yuan/mtu to 37-38 yuan/mtu, with those for Brazilian materials Mn 44% up 0.5 yuan/mtu to 36 yuan/mtu.
At Qinzhou port, quotes for Australian and South African materials both climbed 2 yuan/mtu to 41-43 yuan/mtu and 39-40 yuan/mtu, respectively. Offers for cargoes originating from Gabon, Brazil and Malaysia remained barely changed from a week ago, at 37.5-38.5 yuan/mtu, 36-37 yuan/mtu and 34 yuan/mtu, respectively.
The southern Qinzhou port saw larger price increases, compared to Tianjin port in north China, as downstream stockpiling activity and generally low inventories encouraged traders to raise their offers.
South32 this week set the price of Australian manganese ore for February delivery at $4.3/mtu cif, which lifted morale among Chinese traders. There were rumors that the lowest price for trades with South32 was $4.1/mtu.
Australian manganese ore remained favored by the market, seeing price spreads with Gabonese ore and semi-carbonate ore widening to 4.5 yuan/mtu and 5.5 yuan/mtu this week.
Some market participants are worried that a break above $4.7/mtu for prices of Australian manganese ore could spur deliveries from non-mainstream mines overseas and lead to a rebound in imports and port inventories, pulling prices lower.