We are about to finish another calender year, 2013. This year started with great performance at the chrome ore markets which after the Chinese Spring Festival there was a big silence at both Seller and Buyer sides that lead to the days of panic by the unpredictable price volatilation.
The year 2013 was a tough year for mainly the Chinese ferro-chrome producers. The stainless steel plants regardless of their production increases that is estimated to end as 18,6M, had put and still putting high pressure on the ferro-chrome producers by reducing their tender prices month to month and respectively by chain reaction, ferro-chrome producers tried to put pressure on chrome ore producers.
For the Turkish raw material suppliers there was no choice rather than showing resistance; some mines had to shut down, most of them had hard times but they did not accept the low prices and resisted with the assistance of the financially powerful traders. The prices increased in Q2, and we saw another high season by the beginning of Q4.
Due to the coming winter conditions and shortage of production in Turkey, it is now highly expected to see another increase by the end of the year. East parts of Turkey already faced the snow and some mines stopped production or can not make transportation anymore. Some Middle East producers are facing other production problems that are leading to shortage of mainly lumps. The ocean freights from Turkey to China is increasing since the beginning of November and this will continue for the coming 3-4 months. Last but not least, with the energy prices increasing in mainland China the need for high grade materials is getting crutial, “Brace Yourself, costs are increasing.”
As per the market, there is a still a shortage of high grade chromes and lumps. Turkish chrome ore is one of the major product of this market. Especially 48% basis Turkish concentrates still keep its position to be irreplaceable for the HC FeCr production for worldwide competitive quality of Stainless Steel production.
Today we are facing the “Clash of the Titans”. The Turkish exporters will keep their offers at the same price level although the stainless steel producers dropped their tender prices for HC FeCr and the FeCr producers are pushing the raw materials prices down.