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Japan Molybdenum Supply/Demand January - September 2011
= Imports of molybdenum oxide and ferromolybdenum increased year-on-year =
Production of crude special steel in which molybdenum is mainly consumed during the first 9 months (January through September) of 2011 was 17.99 million tons a little less, by 0.8%, than 18.13 million tons in the same period of 2010, but imports of molybdenum oxide and ferromolybdenum increased year-on-year.

Imports of the two items during the nine months this year were, <> molybdenum oxide: 27,890 tons, up by 16.8% from 23,869 tons in the same period of last year, <> ferromolybdenum: 1,839 tons, up by 9.9% from 1,673 tons. Japan's domestic production of ferromolybdenum by converters in the same period was 3,876 tons, up by 16.1% from 3,388 tons.

Consumption of ferromolybdenum is in the official statistics by the Ministry of Economy, Trades and Industry, but consumption of molybdenum oxide, much bigger in consumed quantity, has been left unknown as it was removed from the statistics in 2004. Only clue for the consumption trend of the oxide is given by watching the imports. It is of course necessary to consider to a certain extent the rebound from the low imports in 2010, but even with the consideration, the increasing trend of imports in 2011 is obvious.

As to the combined inventory of ferromolybdenum and molybdenum oxides at the ferromolybdenum producers and at the steel mills, the recent trend shows a gradual increase. At the end-September, there was 1,707 tons in total in the inventory, which was almost in the same level as it had been in 2008/2009 when Japan's special steel production was at its peak, historically the highest level. Given the forecasted production of special steel, possibly curtailed, the inventory level may be a little too high.

Move of the quarterly averaged prices of oxides in the international markets was, <> January - March 2011: US$17/lb Mo, <> April - June: US$16/lb Mo, <> July - September: US$14/lb Mo, and <> October/November: US$13/lb Mo, downward all the way. The prices are forecasted to decline even further, therefore the high inventory could become a problem of re-evaluation losses for the holders in the near future.
last modified : Tue 27 Dec, 2011 [13:58]
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