NEW YORK Quiet spot
demand has kept silicon prices steady, although market
participants remain divided on the future direction of
price range is between $1.23 and $1.28 per pound.
While consumers say business is
mediocre at best and insist there are no indications that
prices will do anything but move sideways or even down,
suppliers anticipate a pickup in end market demand this year,
led by a strong automotive sector, and maintain that prices
will undoubtedly rise as a result.
A consumer source said that no
supplier is willing to sell him fourth-quarter 2013 material
because they assume prices will go up soon. "I cant get a
commitment for the fourth quarter. I think its the
suppliers wistful thinking and (they) dont want to
commit to a lower price today," he told AMM, pegging
prices at between $1.20 and $1.23 per pound.
"Demand is muted and I
dont see prices going higher, only moving sideways or
(getting) softer," a distributor source said. "Producers are
talking the market (up)."
While suppliers agree that there
is very little spot activity taking placea third source
described markets as "so quiet its not even
funny"they maintain the range is $1.25 to $1.30 per
"Its pretty quiet to be
honest. Most people are covered. Theres not a whole lot
of stuff going on," a supplier source said. "But at the same
time, I dont think there is anything less than $1.25 out
there. The stuff were selling, for three- or five-tonne
truckloads, is at $1.30 (per pound)."
"For us its quiet.
Weve done our business for the year, with only a small
amount of small spot deals," a second supplier source said,
agreeing with the $1.30-per-pound number.
While robust automotive demand
will undoubtedly boost silicon business eventually, it has not
necessarily happened yet due to high scrap availability in the
Midwest, he said. "Keep your eye on the availability of scrap
car wheels. Car wheels have 8 percent silicon. If there are a
lot of scrap car wheels available, then people will use (them
and buy) less silicon."
Silicon business will almost
certainly pick up once Chinese buyers enter the aluminum scrap
market, he added.
However, for the moment
participants expect spot silicon business to remain lackluster
in the near term.
"I think its going to be a
wait-and-see attitude over the next three to four
weeks," the consumer source said.