Chinese Vanadium Prices Hold On Pre-Holiday Restocking

The ferro-vanadium export price in China held steady for the third consecutive week in the week to Thursday September 26 despite muted buying interest from abroad due to the Chinese price surpassing its counterparts elsewhere.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the export price for ferro-vanadium, 78% V min, fob China was at $35.50-38.50 per kg on September 26, unmoved week on week.

Few inquiries for ferro-vanadium have been reported from abroad on the still wide price gap between markets in both China and Europe.

The price differential between China and Europe has widened out to as much as $8.75-10.50 per kg, according to Fastmarkets’ latest assessments.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-vanadium, basis 78% V min, 1st grade, ddp Western Europe slid to $26.75-28 per kg on September 27 from the midweek assessment of $28-29 per kg.

Despite thin buying interest from abroad, Chinese ferro-vanadium exporters were unwilling to lower their adjustments for tradeable prices in the export market after realizing that the domestic price has been stable.

“If we need to make a big compromise on the price to ship cargoes abroad, why would we bother to do so? Especially when the domestic price is obviously better for us,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium exporter said.

The Chinese domestic ferro-vanadium price has been largely stable in the past week due to domestic suppliers’ maintaining prices amid growing buying interest from mills ahead of the week-long National Day holiday break from October 1-7.

“It’s obvious that more mills re-entered the market to replenish vanadium products this week but vanadium prices failed to gain any momentum because mills are still trying to push prices down,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium supplier said on September 26.

Some vanadium-nitrogen producers were heard to have offered above 200,000 yuan ($28,075) per tonne last week but only managed to finalize transactions with mills below the level.

Some market sources believe that the vanadium products’ prices in China are unlikely to see a significant drop in the near term because suppliers will be unwilling to surrender much on prices given the current vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) price level.

On the upstream side, China’s export price for V2O5 was similarly unchanged and in line with the trend in the domestic market.

Fastmarkets’ assessment of the export price of vanadium pentoxide, 98% V2O5 min, fob China was $8.20-8.30 per lb on September 26, flat for the second consecutive week.

A few Chinese V2O5 suppliers made offers in the export market but failed to capture any deals amid the wide price gap between the Chinese and overseas markets.

The Chinese domestic V2O5 price underwent little change last week, despite growing inquiries, because domestic alloy plants were unwilling to accept a higher V2O5 price against the current ferro-vanadium and vanadium nitrogen prices, one market source said.

“I do not think the domestic V2O5 price will rise much before the alloy price achieves some growth. This is because many alloy plants can barely make any money at the current prices. If the V2O5 price rises further, it means that they will unavoidably suffer losses and therefore they will not make this happen,” a Chinese market participant said.

“Though some alloy producers need to restock certain volumes of V2O5, they would rather sit on the sidelines when feeling the price is a bit high and risky,” the same market participant added.