A brief overview of manganese price developments, supply and demand, and significant market movers
Seasonal slowdowns have kept manganese prices largely unchanged over the past couple of weeks.
In Europe, spot prices of silicomanganese, which is heavily used in steelmaking, remained between 940 and 980 euros per tonne. During the summer, most European steel manufacturers shut down for two weeks, but this year some of those shutdowns are being extended as long as eight weeks due to the continent’s ongoing economic struggles. That’s fueling worries that silicomanganese prices could fall further.
Markets were also quiet in China as trading resumed after a three-day dragon boat festival that started on June 22. Prices of electrolytic manganese flake, which is mainly used in stainless steel, hovered around RMB14,700 to 14,900 per tonne ($2,492 to $2,539). One Shanghai trader reported export prices holding steady around $3,000, according to Metal-Pages. “Most enquiries are tentative, so no actual deals have been done,” he said.
One factor that could stimulate the manganese market is China’s rumored decision to cancel its export taxes on a number of metals, including manganese. The change, which comes in response to a February World Trade Organization ruling that said the tax broke international trade rules, could come into effect as soon as July 1.
In addition to holding back exports of some metals, the tax has also sharply increased smuggling of Chinese metals out of the country, particularly over the border with Vietnam.