GLOBAL VANADIUM WRAP: Ferro-Vanadium Prices Continue to Fall, V2O5 Markets Follow Downward

Ferro-vanadium prices continued to fall globally in the week ended Friday May 10 with vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) markets following the downtrend.

  • Chinese ferro-vanadium export prices fall on weak demand
  • European ferro-vanadium price continues downtrend on aggressive offers, oversupply
  • European V2O5 price falls again on weak buying, Chinese export price under pressure

The export price for ferro-vanadium in China slumped last week after holding steady for three consecutive weeks.

Fastmarkets assessed the export price for ferro-vanadium, min 78%, fob China, at $44-47 per kg on May 9, down by 12.5% from $50-54 per kg a week earlier.

Chinese ferro-vanadium participants showed no interest in offering into the export market on noticing the significant price gap between the Chinese and international markets. 

The gap between the Chinese ferro-vanadium export price and the ferro-vanadium delivered duty-paid price in Europe has widened to around $7.60-8.30 per kg, according to Fastmarkets data.

“I do not see any chance to secure any deals [in the export market] because the Chinese price is obviously much higher than that in the overseas market, so it’s meaningless in making any offers now,” a Chinese ferro-vanadium exporter said. “No overseas buyer will be interested in placing orders with us.”

The number of inquiries from the ex-China market has also reportedly shrunk after the May Day holiday (May 1-4), partly due to the widening price gap, market sources said.

“We received some inquiries from abroad before the holiday though most of them were merely testing the Chinese market,” a second ferro-vanadium exporter told Fastmarkets on May 9. “But this week you barely see any [inquiries].”

In addition to a lack of buying interest from abroad, a softening of the Chinese domestic market also put downward pressure on the country’s export market, according to market sources.

The softer tone in the Chinese domestic ferro-vanadium prices last week comes amid ample supply of the material and weak downstream demand.

“The sharp price gap between Chinese and European markets has made it hard to export out of China,” a China-based market source said, adding that a number of cargoes originally destined for the export market have made their way into the domestic market. 

“Though several tenders from domestic mills in April helped some ferro-vanadium and vanadium nitrogen producers alleviate their stocks pressure to a certain degree, the market is still oversupplied,” a second China-based market source said.

Meanwhile, weakness in the Chinese V2O5 price was said to be another factor behind the decline in country’s ferro-vanadium market last week.

“Suppliers had been reluctant to lower their offer prices [for ferro-vanadium] because of relatively high V2O5 price, but now there is no reason for them not to cut [ferro-vanadium] prices with V2O5 price continuously moving down,” a third China-based market source said.

Chinese ferro-vanadium and vanadium producers bound by the long-term contract prices of the country’s three major V2O5 suppliers have reportedly had to either reduce their procurement rates or halt production because they are making a loss.

The long-term contract price for V2O5 stood at 170,000 yuan ($24,747) per tonne in April, an equivalent of approximately $11.30 per lb. This compares with a spot price of 140,000-150,000 yuan per tonne, an equivalent of around $9.40-10 per lb. Both are paid on acceptance and include value-added tax.

The export price for V205 in China was similarly down, tracking the trend seen in the domestic market due to weak buying interest.

Fastmarkets assessed the export price for V2O5, min 98%, fob China, at $9.40-10 per lb on May 9, down by 11.8% from $10.50-11.50 per lb in the prior week.

The Chinese domestic V2O5 price fell significantly last week due to suppliers’ cutting offers to encourage sales on noticing low buying interest. 

“Almost all ferro-vanadium and vanadium nitrogen producers were not interested in restocking V2O5,” a Chinese V2O5 exporter said. “This is partly because they have been focusing on offloading their stocks. And no one dared to buy any volume of V2O5 unless they are securing orders from mills.”

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