Antimony gains support in Europe amid coronavirus outbreak uncertainty
Published: Tuesday, 04 February 2020
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak from Wuhan city, China, is positively affecting antimony prices in Europe, with low stocks in Rotterdam and the market heavily dependent on supply from China.
The East Asian country accounts for 78% of
global antimony output, according to the United States Geologic
Fastmarkets assessed the
price for antimony max 100 ppm Bi, in-whs Rotterdam at
$5,850-6,150 per tonne on Friday, January 31, up by 3.4% from
$5,650-6,150 per tonne on Wednesday.
Fastmarkets assessed the
price of antimony, standard grade II, in-warehouse
Rotterdam at $5,800-6,000 per tonne on Friday, up by 2.6%
from $5,600-5,900 per tonne two days before.
A combination of low inventories in Rotterdam - especially for
trioxide-grade antimony - and logistical concerns, after
regional and local Chinese authorities delayed businesses
reopening until February 10 at the earliest, have supported the
metal’s price action.
"Everybody is sold out at this point and not only in Rotterdam,
[it’s true for] Indian traders and in other
locations, the market is getting tight," a European trader
Stock levels for trioxide-grade antimony were already limited
before the Lunar New Year, with some traders delaying their
purchases over December and January due to a stagnant
"I am offering $6,350 per tonne today… it
wasn’t accepted but I’m not going to
lower it because there is no cheap material any longer," a
Europe-based trader said.
Despite the hefty offers, deals concluded between $5,850 per
tonne and $6,000 per tonne for standard-grade II. Although, for
now, some consumers are still assessing the situation,
Fastmarkets was told.
Some traders are taking a cautious approach and will not offer
material until the situation becomes clear, sources said.
"I am keeping my material because I have shipments and
commitments to meet. If I sell now, I am not sure I will find a
replacement in the short term," a second European trader
More disruption to
Additionally, market sources that spoke to Fastmarkets
mentioned a potential full closure between China and
For the time being, Vietnam has banned all flights coming from
mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau until May 1, the country
announced on Friday.
The northern province of Lang Son has closed the border between
Vietnam and China and imposed restrictions on the La Cao
border, local media reported.
These closures are not related to the stricter enforcement of
anti-smuggling, which is
already in place along the China-Vietnam border channel,
but could give leverage to sellers to increase prices, sources
"With Vietnam out of the picture, cheap material will vanish,"
a third European trader said.
But even in the case of border closures, some sources remain
skeptical of the true impact that blocking this path will
"You can survive two months without Chinese material," a second
European trader said. "There is material from other parts of
the world, like the United States or Mexico, and production
from Vietnam and Myanmar can be shipped into Europe directly,"
the second trader said.