GLOBAL VANADIUM WRAP: China market in post-holiday lull; EU, US supply tightness continues to drive prices

Date: Feb 28, 2018

The Chinese vanadium market remained sluggish after the Lunar New Year holiday came to an end last week, but the European and US markets continued to strengthen amid supply concerns.

  • China market sluggish after holiday, prices steady
  • Tightness in European market bolsters prices once again
  • US market continues to strengthen on thin supply

Chinese vanadium participants were slow in returning to the market following the weeklong Lunar New Year break (February 15-21), with many choosing to adopt and wait-and-see approach to gauge how international markets had progressed in China’s absence before deciding their next step.

Therefore with limited trade activity over the past week, Metal Bulletin’s price quotations for fob China ferro-vanadiumand vanadium pentoxide were unchanged at $58-60.50 per kg and $13-13.60 per Ib respectively on Thursday February 22.

But with prices in international markets likely to continue their recent upward trend and the export arbitrage window opening for Chinese exporters, market sources told Metal Bulletin they expect a near-term recovery in China’s export market.

“We may raise the export offers. Buyers accepting higher prices in overseas markets will help the market’s liquidity,” a China-based exporter told Metal Bulletin.

“We could not secure deals for several weeks because of the price differential in China and abroad, but actually that is not a healthy market for Chinese suppliers owing to the closing prices in international markets having been lower than that in China for such a long period of time,” the exporter said, adding that he had quoted $60.50 per kg fob China for ferro-vanadium but had stopped quoting for vanadium pentoxide due to limited stocks.

In 2017, China’s vanadium export prices had lingered above international levels for most of the year.

European market buoyed by material tightness

The European ferro-vanadium market continued to strengthen last week, with supply concerns underpinning prices.

Metal Bulletin’s price quotation for European ferro-vanadium narrowed to $61.90-62.30 per kg on February 23, delivered duty-paid in Europe, up 1.7% from $60.40-61.70 per kg during the midweek assessment.

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