The Platts daily dealer molybdenum oxide assessment fell to $4.70-$4.80/lb on Monday from $4.80-$4.90/lb on Friday.
A producer reported selling a combined total of 84 mt at $4.70/lb, in-warehouse Rotterdam, while a trader reported maintaining offers at that level, but not booking anything.
On Friday, a transaction of 24 mt of moly oxide briquettes was reported at $4.70/lb, in-warehouse Rotterdam, between two traders and confirmed by both counterparties, but the business was reported after the sale closed.
It could not be determined whether there was a premium for the briquettes, with some sources saying there was no premium and some saying it could be between 5-10 cents/lb.
A trader reported receiving an offer at $4.80/lb from a producer and believed the price to be biddable. But the trader did not book. "We probably could have bid a bit under that, but what would we do if we got it?" he asked. "At the moment, with all the uncertainty, there's no interest in buying anything at all."
A second trader, who reported no business, agreed it was difficult to find buyers for moly oxide. "We offered at $4.80 in Asia and no buyer. That's the common theme in moly these days," the trader said.
A fourth trader said he had not done anything on either moly oxide or ferromolybdenum so far, and noted that several participants were engaged in meetings and events in London related to LME Week.
The producer that sold the 84 mt at $4.70 said there was "no change in direction [in the market]."
The first trader said there were conflicting indications in the market over the future direction of prices.
"We've seen people offering from stock who are normally buyers, and that's a bit worrying," the trader said. "One thing I would say to counter all the negativity is that we've seen [a participant] bidding at 10-20 cents/lb under the market, and we're not sure if they're just covering a container load or two ... or if it's the start of a new position."
A trader/producer reported buying 40 mt of oxide powder at $4.70/lb, but after Monday's assessment had closed.
In South Korea, a trader offered ferromolybdenum at $13.00/kg, but did not book. The same trader also said he was not interested in bids at $12.90/kg.
There were reports that a Chinese trading house was buying moly oxide and ferromolybdenum, but there were no reports of transactions as such.
Sources indicated that moly oxide prices at $4.80 had attracted the attention of Chinese buyers, but the price was not low enough to induce buying.
"We're still monitoring the market, but have not yet decided when is the best time to buy," a Chinese trader said. "We're not offering or bidding. The market is a bit risky to buy, as the chance of further decline is there as well."
A second Chinese trader reported offering at the low end of the Platts range, but found no willing buyers at that price.
A European steel mill reportedly bought one truckload of ferromolybdenum at $12.30/kg, duty-paid, in-warehouse basis, but the transaction could not be confirmed. There were no details on the origin of the ferromolybdenum or the chemistry.
A producer offered against the inquiry at $12.50/kg and did not get the business.
The third trader said most of the sales of ferromolybdenum below $13/kg were "distressed sales" involving off-grade material. He put the Western-grade ferromolybdenum price in a wide spread at above $13/kg.
But several other sources estimated the market in a broad range of $12.50/kg to $13.00/kg.
The Platts daily assessment for European ferromolybdenum fell to $12.50-$12.90/kg, duty-paid, in-warehouse Rotterdam basis on Monday.