[Ferro-Alloys.com] Indian ferro-silicon prices are on the rise as tight supply offsets the impact of low spot demand from the steel industry, although the government's decision to once again extend the deadline for ferro-silicon quality certification is easing importers' concerns about further supply disruptions.
Argus assessed prices for ferro-silicon at Rs107,000-110,000/t ex-works northeast India, up from Rs102,000-105,000/t on 22 April as they recover from a year-to-date low of around Rs94,500/t in mid-February.
Producers in Meghalaya continue to deal with irregular power supply, which has forced them to reduce output, while other producers are fully booked for the time being and have limited material to offer in the spot market.
Meanwhile, delayed shipments from Bhutan — the largest exporter of ferro-silicon to India — have compounded the shortage. Deliveries have been hit by labour shortages and restrictions on truck movements across the border.
India's ferro-silicon importers have also been concerned about a looming 23 April deadline for obtaining quality certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which many suppliers have struggled to meet because visa and travel restrictions caused by Covid-19 have slowed the process. Market participants had been expecting the BIS deadline to be pushed back but an announcement was only made late on 26 April, confirming that the deadline has been delayed to 23 October.
Demand for ferro-silicon from India's stainless and carbon steel mills remain subdued and pandemic-related uncertainty about the coming month has further slowed buying interest. The Indian government has restricted the use of liquid oxygen to only medical purposes as the country struggles to manage a surge in Covid-19 cases — an order that initially exempted steel plants but was updated yesterday, stating that "no exception is allowed to any industry with regard to the use of liquid oxygen".
The latest Covid-19 restrictions have not yet had a significant impact on Indian steel fundamentals, particularly as many producers adjusted their operations and order books amid last year's upheaval. But market participants are closely monitoring the situation and are particularly wary that labour shortages might impact operations in the near-term.
Copyright © 2013 Ferro-Alloys.Com. All Rights Reserved. Without permission, any unit and individual shall not copy or reprint!