Japanese ferrosilicon buying has eased this week following steelmaker buy tenders for July-September deliveries late last month, market sources said Thursday.
One integrated steelmaker this week will close a buy tender for around 1,000 mt of non-standard ferrosilicon for delivery to a west Japan plant in August-September, but there were no major orders for standard 75%-silicon material, sources said.
The steelmaker is seeking to buy small low calcium ferrosilicon, according to sources.
As a result, the spot price for Chinese-origin ferrosilicon imported into Japan was assessed at $1,380-1,390/mt CIF Japan, down from $1,390-1,420/mt CIF Japan last week.
Most other Japanese steelmakers sourced their July or July-September requirements by the end of last week, sources said. One trader described demand from electric arc furnace operators in eastern Japan as “holding well,” as they may be expecting reconstruction demand in areas that suffered damage from last year’s earthquake.
A second trader said demand from mills in central Japan was also stable due to automotive demand.
Prospects for stainless steel mills and electric arc furnace operators in western Japan are bleak, sources said. Due to power shortage anticipated in the Kansai Electric area in western Japan, mills plan to reduce output this quarter, they said.
“The mills have not decided how much they plan to make for the current quarter, so they will be buying hand-to-mouth,” one trader said.
Sources also said they expected ferrosilicon requirement for the mills based west of Osaka to fall this quarter from the previous quarter as many had pushed ahead production schedules in anticipation of power supply constraints.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said last week that Japan’s crude steel demand over July to September was forecast at 27.1 million mt, down 1.9% from the previous quarter, while demand for steel products was forecast to rise 0.9% to 24.70 million mt.
Crude steel output is forecast to fall due to high inventories, the ministry said.