NANNING, May 25 (SMM) – Prices of refined indium has almost doubled from levels seen in August 2017 as raw material production was depressed by China’s stricter environmental protection policy this year, according to SMM senior analyst Liu Yuqiao.
Last month, prices surged to around 2,100 yuan/kg, highest level since 2016, she told delegates at the SMM Minor Metals Summit on Friday May 25 in Nanning, Guangxi province.
China’s exports of refined indium have been in an upward trend since the end of last year and hit a high of over 40 mt in March. This was because fine quality of domestic refined indium was favoured by overseas customers, Liu said.
She expected exports to rise to 196 mt this year from 163 mt in 2017.
Liu forecast the price of germanium ingot to hover at 10,000 yuan/kg in the short term with support from stable downstream demand and high concentration of the industry.
The germanium ingot price has risen from a low of 6,000 yuan/kg since September 2016, SMM data showed.
Both exports and imports of germanium for further processing purpose saw steady increase from the start of 2018 on rising overseas demand for germanium jewellery, Liu explained.
In the domestic gallium market, supply gap resulted from the growth of downstream demand has pushed up its price to a high of over 1,400 yuan/kg this March, from 700 yuan/kg in June last year, Liu said.
Export of gallium has been rising from 2016 as overseas consumption from metalorganic source and chip accelerated. The net export is expected at 137 mt in 2018, according to Liu.
The bismuth industry will stay balanced in 2018, Liu expected. The domestic output of bismuth ingot registered 12,000 mt in 2017, and will increase to 12,480 mt in 2018, Liu expected.
The majority exports of bismuth products have moved from bismuth ingot to bismuth oxide since the end of last year, due to the change in downstream customers' purchasing need, she explained.
In the selenium market, while downstream demand in China was sluggish, prices of selenium were pushed up by surging overseas prices since the start of this year. Imports are likely to dip to 1,482 mt this year, from 1,560 last year.
SMM assessed refined selenium at around 16,000 yuan/mt this month, compared with 15,000 yuan/mt at the start of this year.
Due to output restriction on environmental grounds and higher overseas demand, domestic tellurium prices picked up steadily from 200 yuan/kg two years ago to 600 yuan/kg currently.
Its export this year will receive support from rising demand from the international market, Liu believed.
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