Chromite ore and finished chromium alloys have diverged in price since the beginning of the new year, according to Metal-Pages.
Prices for chromite ore in Europe have been flat, with 52-percent chromium concentrate going for $1.12 per pound since mid-December. Chinese prices for South African 44-percent CIF concentrate have been holding steady at $190 to $195 per metric ton (MT) since mid-January.
The only activity in the chromite market has been for Turkish 42-percent product in China. That price is running at $260 to $265 per MT, up about 4 percent since the beginning of the year.
But ferrochrome prices have shown strength over the last few weeks. European 60 percent (6 to 8 percent carbon) is going for $1.00 to $1.05 per pound, up 8.5 percent on the year so far.
Chinese 50-percent ferrochrome has had a similar run. Prices for the alloy flattened this week, holding at 7,600 to 7,800 renminbi (US$1,219 to $1,251) per MT, but are up 10 percent since early December.
That is perhaps a sign that chromium end use is picking up, but it remains to be seen if that will trickle through to ore prices.