European manganese prices have remained in a holding pattern over the past month. Spot prices for ferromanganese with 78-percent metal content are currently between 860 and 880 euros per metric ton, while silicomanganese prices range from 890 to 910 euros, according to data from Metal-Pages.
Silicomanganese is mainly used in construction steels, while most ferromanganese goes into flat steels that are used to make automobiles.
Prices of silicomanganese have found support from low inventories at both suppliers and steel mills, according to a Metal-Pages article. Current prices are also hovering near production costs, which is helping prevent a decline.
European silicomanganese prices are closely tied to the health of the construction industry, and that sector has slowed considerably due to the European debt crisis. At the same time, ferromanganese prices have been held back by weaker automobile demand on the continent. Sixteen million cars and trucks were sold in Europe in 2012, down from 16.7 million in 2011, according to a December report from Scotiabank. The bank is calling for sales of 16.3 million vehicles in 2013.