CHENZHOU, Apr 3 (SMM) – Domestic prices of refined indium will lack support in 2019 as growth in supplies exceeds that in consumption, even as the development of 5G technology, smart manufacturing, and digital economy will pull up demand, according to Hu Yan, SMM senior analyst for minor metals.
Speaking to delegates at the SMM Minor Metals Summit on Wednesday April 3 in Chenzhou, Hunan province, she noted that prices of refined indium started to drop in April of 2018 after a tight supply of raw materials grew speculative demand and bolstered prices to a high of 2,100 yuan/kg.
The Yunnan-based Fanya Metal Exchange attempted to sell off its stockpiles of indium in January. This grew caution across investors and caused a further decline in indium prices, she said.
Changes in the current over 3,600 mt indium inventories across social warehouses will be essential to determine prices of the metal in the near future, the analyst added.
She expected germanium ingot to trade weakly within a narrow range this year, with major producers facing pressure to destock.
Cooler demand from overseas market dragged prices of germanium from a high of 10,500 yuan/kg in April of 2018. This followed after prices trended upwards from 2017, as stricter environmental policies depressed output. Greater orders from foreign jewellery producers lifted germanium consumption in the fourth quarter of 2017, which also accounted for the higher prices, she explained.
For gallium, consumption growth will continue to depend on the overseas market, Hu said. She expected firm demand from the semiconductor industry to cap any downward room in the gallium prices for 2019.