SHANGHAI, Jun 11 (SMM) – Some manganese ore traders on China raised their quotes sharply on Thursday on fears that the major supplier South Africa would intensify their lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic again as new cases are “rising fast.”
SMM learned that several traders hiked their quotes for SA manganese ore at Chinese ports by 6-7 yuan/mtu to 48-50 yuan/mtu, but there were no deals reached at these levels. SMM assessed prices of SA semi-carbonate manganese ore, Mn 36-37%, at the port of Tianjin at 43.25 yuan/mtu, value-added tax included, on June 11.
The SMM assessments were unchanged from the previous day, and marked a more than 20% decline from the highest since late 2018 where prices resided between mid-April to late-May.
Rekindled concerns over supply from SA also encouraged traders of chrome ore and ferrochrome to hold their quotes firm. SMM assessed prices of SA chrome ore fines/concentrates, Mn 40-42%, at the port of Tianjin at 32.75 yuan/mtu, VAT included, on June 11, unchanged from the previous day.
The most active silico-manganese futures contract on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange surged more than 2.5% to 6,608 yuan/mt at 14:28 Beijing time on Thursday June 11, after plumbing its lowest since March 23 at 6,410 yuan/mt in the previous session.
President's address in focus
SA President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his weekly letter to the nation that he’s worried about the climbing numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths. The country, which has the highest number of infections in Africa, has registered more than 55,000 cases of the deadly respiratory illness, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Ramaphosa is addressing the nation on Sunday June 14, which will provide some clarity on the country’s response to rising infections.
Ore shipments from SA have yet to recover to pre-crisis levels
Mines in SA were closed and shipments from its ports were suspended after the nationwide anti-coronavirus lockdown started in late March, which contributed to the rally in manganese and chrome ore prices.
Starting June 1, mines and ports were allowed to resume operations as the country eased its response to Covid-19 to level three. But the SMM survey showed that some mines have yet to resume operations, and that operations at ports recover slowly, deterring ore shipments from recovering to levels seen before coronavirus lockdown restrictions were put in place.