GLOBAL VANADIUM WRAP: China follows European market higher; EU, US prices continue to ride upward momentum

Date: Mar 7, 2018

The Chinese vanadium market followed European prices upward last week, in its first full week since returning from the Chinese New Year break. Meanwhile, the US and European markets continued to strengthen on thinning stocks and healthy spot demand.

  • Chinese vanadium prices surge after emerging from Chinese New Year
  • European market continues uptrend in light of supply constraints
  • US ferro-vanadium prices rise on elevated overseas prices, uptick in spot demand

The Chinese vanadium export market rebounded over the past week, with participants returning from the Chinese New Year break (February 15-21) eager to chase European prices higher. The rebound was also supported by increased demand for vanadium products from domestic steel mills.

Metal Bulletin assessed fob China ferro-vanadium prices at $61-62 per kg on Thursday March 1, up 3.8% from $58-60.50 a week earlier. Meanwhile, the price quotation for fob China vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) was at $13.50-14 per Ib on March 1, rising 3.4% from $13-13.60 per lb in the prior week.

“[China’s domestic] market saw a number of tenders for ferro-vanadium and vanadium nitride from steel mills, and it seems demand is likely to increase going forward. Meanwhile, the upward trend in European prices also buoyed Chinese export ferro-vanadium prices,” an exporter said.

“We secured a deal for 20 tonnes [of ferro-vanadium] at $61 per kg recently, and raised our quotation to $62 per kg as overseas buyers are accepting high prices,” a second exporter said.

The second exporter estimates that ferro-vanadium stocks in Rotterdam are low given the continuous price increases in the European market since February.

For V2O5, the supply tightness has persisted and major producers, such as Jianlong Group, Tranvic Group and Desheng Group, have limited material to sell into the spot market, sources told Metal Bulletin.

“Few V2O5 exporters are quoting now, and offers are roughly hovering at $13.60-14 [per lb], but still have momentum to rise,” a third exporter said.

Uptrend in European market continues
The European ferro-vanadium market strengthened further this past week, with tightened spot supply continuing to provide support for prices.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for European ferro-vanadium stood at $62.50-64 per kg on March 2, delivered duty-paid in Europe, up 1.4% from $62-62.80 per kg on February 28.

The spot market saw a flurry of activity, particularly in the early half of the week, with traders anxiously seeking material to restock exhausted inventories.

“There have been quite a few traders coming into the market seeking material, willing to pay high numbers, but they are still having trouble finding material given how tight the market is,” a supplier source said to Metal Bulletin.

As has been the case for much of the year, available inventories have been limited, with traders’ stocks largely depleted.

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