Chinese Vanadium Export Price Halts Decline On Supportive Domestic Market

The tumble in the ferro-vanadium export price in China paused last week, buoyed by a mild recovery in the domestic market last week after buying interest among downstream mills returned.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the export price for ferro-vanadium, 78% V min, fob China was $36-39 per kg on Thursday August 29, flat week on week. The price has fallen by 8.5% during the month from $40-42 per kg on August 1. 

No deals for ferro-vanadium were heard to have been concluded in the export market last week because the price difference between China and Europe is still wide enough to hinder trades. 

Fastmarkets’ ferro-vanadium basis 78% V min, 1st grade, ddp Western Europe price widened downward to $30.80-32 per kg on Friday, down by 20 cents on the low end from $31-32 per kg in the midweek assessment. 

This means the price differential between the Chinese and European markets sit at $5.20-7 per kg, narrowing from $9-9.85 per kg in early August. 

The Chinese export price stabilized last week because Chinese ferro-vanadium exporters held their offer prices after noticing the domestic market was showing signs of strengthening, although demand from abroad remains lackluster, market participants said. 

“Although the summer holiday in Europe is over, inquiries [for ferro-vanadium] remained thin. It seems demand has not come back yet,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium exporter said on Thursday. 

There was a slight uptick in the Chinese domestic ferro-vanadium market last week after suppliers refused to lower their offer prices further due to improved demand from some mills returning for stocking, market participants said. Fastmarkets does not publish a domestic Chinese ferro-vanadium price. 

“Demand [for vanadium products] is a bit better than in the previous week, which provides domestic suppliers with some leverage to hold their prices relatively firm,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium supplier said. 

But some domestic market participants expressed concerns of a possible downswing in the coming weeks. 

“Domestic vanadium prices are likely to fall because some traders showed eagerness to destock,” a second Chinese ferro-vanadium supplier said. 

China’s export price for vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) was unmoved in the past week amid a lack of trading activity. Chinese exporters were not active in shipping cargoes abroad last week while the Chinese price remained more attractive than in Europe. 

Fastmarkets assessed the export price of vanadium pentoxide, 98% V2O5 min, fob China at $8.40-8.70 per lb on Thursday, unchanged from the previous week. The assessment has fallen by 7.6% since early August, according to Fastmarkets’ historical data. 

The Chinese domestic V2O5 price rose last week after some domestic suppliers increased their offer prices in anticipation of a further rebounding after an increasing number of domestic ferro-vanadium and vanadium nitrogen producers resumed their interest in restocking V2O5 in the coming weeks. 

“It’s clear that the [V2O5] price is firming but I do not think it will move up significantly because the current momentum is still not strong enough,” a Chinese market participant said.