GLOBAL VANADIUM WRAP: China, EU prices dip in sluggish spot markets

Date: Feb 7, 2018

Chinese and European ferro-vanadium prices softened last week amid lackluster spot market demand, while the US market held firm under similar conditions.

  • Chinese market slows as Chinese New Year holidays approach
  • European market slightly softer on sluggish spot demand
  • US market holds course despite thin trading activity

Inquiries were thin for fob China vanadium products over the past week, but domestic prices held steady with some market players leaving gradually for the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins February 15.

Metal Bulletin assessed fob China ferro-vanadium prices at $58-60.50 per kg on Thursday February 1, with the low end down by $0.50 and high end unchanged compared with the prior week.

“Domestic prices [of ferro-vanadium] firmly stabilized at 182,000-185,000 yuan ($28,888-29,365) per tonne, with some offers at as high as 190,000 yuan. While the exchange rate of the yuan again the dollar appreciated fast from 6.35 to 6.3 over the past two weeks, after assessing the export cost, we quote a firm offer at $58, but heard offers above $60, too,” an exporter told Metal Bulletin.

“I have not quoted as no inquiries came to me – but if quoted, at least at $60 now,” a second ferro-vanadium exporter said, revealing that the slight dip in the European market forced some overseas buyers to retreat to the sidelines. This exporter is also watching the market for after the week-long Chinese New Year holidays, he said.

The tightness in vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) continues in China, but the price in the Chinese domestic market has been rising for around three months, so it is normal that the market sees a correction. “But fundamentals in [the] vanadium market [are] still optimistic,” the second exporter noted.

Metal Bulletin’s latest assessment for fob China V2O5 held at $13-13.30 per Ib on February 1, flat with one week earlier.

“My production in February has been booked out at 182,000 yuan per tonne, equivalent to $13.10 per Ib, so I have nothing to export recently,” a major V2O5 producer said.

The low availability of vanadium pentoxide was verified by another major V2O5 producer in Jinzhou, Liaoning, north China, who processes domestic vanadium slag into V2O5 and then ferro-vanadium, and has been an important ferro-vanadium and vanadium pentoxide exporter over the past years.

“They may not export the products [ferro-vanadium and vanadium pentoxide] in 2018, [but sell] in the domestic market because of robust demand and more favorable prices here,” a source familiar with that V2O5 producer said.

EU market slips, US steady

The European ferro-vanadium market slowed down last week, with prices settling into slightly lower levels.

Spot prices for European ferro-vanadium narrowed to $57.50-59 per kg delivered duty-paid in Europe on February 2, down from $57.50-60 per kg during the midweek assessment.

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