The Vitamin B12 Prices displayed mixed sentiments at the beginning of the first quarter of 2023, with prices estimated in January 2023 at $2073350/MT and March 2023 at $2005780/MT CFR California, respectively. Following the previous quarter's market volatility, market participants had anticipated that the choppy waters would continue to hang over the pharmaceutical and nutraceuticals market during the first quarter of 2023. The market dynamics were kept in check by sustained end-user demand and low to moderate inquiries from downstream suppliers. The first half of the quarter was positively influenced by the lifting of the zero-Covid Ban in China in the first week of January as the supply chain and trade continued to strengthen, resulting in a decline in freight costs. Businesses in the US increased employment in January, and wages rose as a result of a sustained severe labor shortage. Because of a downturn in local consumer demand and record high warehouse stockpiles in the second half of the quarter, domestic merchants reduced manufacturing orders by as much as 40%.
In Asia Pacific, the first quarter of 2023 proved to be advantageous for China as the country's decision to abolish stringent COVID-19 restrictions in the first week of January gave the trillion-dollar economy, which had suffered greatly over the previous four years, new vigor. In the domestic Chinese market, however, the price pattern during the first quarter of 2023 was downward, with FOB Shanghai prices falling from $1725575/MT in January to $1611000/MT in March. Following a week-long Lunar Holiday, the price of Vitamin B12 in the domestic market for nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals experienced a roll-over sentiment for two consecutive weeks in January. Technically speaking, the markets returned from vacation on a strong note with increased local and international orders and shipments. After the markets recovered from the covid-induced lull and a week-long celebration, a sharp downturn in manufacturing was seen in China during the second half of 2022. The declining end-user demand from both local and foreign markets is mostly to blame for China's fall.
During the Q1 of 2023, prices for Vitamin B12 were estimated at $1799960 per MT in January 2023 and $1795600 per MT in March 2023, respectively. With an increase in orders and shipments from both local and foreign markets, the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries in Europe started the first quarter on a positive note. The local market's participants detected positive arbitrage in the majority of the quarter because the forecast for supply and demand looked positive. As inflation pressures reduced during a protracted period of the Russia-Ukraine war and China's surprise covid re-opening, the European market has shown optimistic indicators together with the improvement in end-user demand from both producers and suppliers, paving the way for a swift recovery in activity. The cost of shipping containers between Asia and Europe has also drastically decreased in the second half of the quarter to pre-pandemic levels or below, illustrating strong demand and supply dynamics.
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