HONG KONG, Mar. 25 -- China's consumption of molybdenum, an additive used to stregthen steel, may rise 13 percent on the year in 2010, a senior executive at the country's top producer of the metal said on Wednesday.
But a rise in production may outstrip the growth in consumption and the country would need exports to digest the domestic surplus, said Wang Bin, deputy general manager for China Molybdenum <3993.HK>, which is the world's fourth-biggest producer of the metal.
"Production may rise to 90,000 tonnes of molybdenum metal in 2010," Wang told Reuters on the sidelines of Metal Bulletin's minor metals conference in Hong Kong.
Output was about 73,000 tonnes of metal last year, based on the company's estimate, he said.
Wang said he expected international molybdenum prices
Spot molybdenum oxide was quoted at $16.7 on March 19 in Europe.
Wang said low prices in the international market had driven up China's imports of molybdenum last year, adding about 45,000 tonnes of molybdenum may be stored in private warehouses in China currently, about two-thirds of the annual consumption.
China's molybdenum consumption stood about 61,200 tonnes of metal last year and demand should rise 13 percent on the year in 2010, Wang said.
About 25 percent of China's molybdenum supplies was consumed by stainless steel mills, he added.
Wang said the use of molybdenum in stainless steel production in China, the world's top producing nation of that anti-corrosive steel, should rise given only 3 percent of the country's stainless steel production used molybdenum currently.
Nickel-based stainless steel is more popular in China.