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China Molybdenum Trade Volume Quickly Shrinking
= Imports/exports of January - September 2012 have both shrunk 35 - 36% compared to the same period of 2011 =
September) of 2012 became import surplus after two calendar quarters of export surplus. Exports in the Q3 of 2012 were 3.31 million pounds (Mo content) by estimate and imports were 3.42 million pounds (Mo content) also by estimate. The sharp drop in the exports was basically due to the recent low prices that hit several times below US$11/lb Mo.

The trade volumes during the first nine months of 2012 were <> exports: 11.80 million pounds and <> imports: 9.24 million pounds, still an export-surplus situation but with a shrinking trend both in exports (down 36.8% from the same nine-month period of 2011) and in imports (down 35.0%).

The world price changes of molybdenum oxide on a quarterly averaged basis during 2012 have been in a downward trend, i.e. <> Q1 (January - March): US$14.10/lb, <> Q2 (April - June): US$13.65/lb, and <> Q3 (July - September): US$11.67/lb, giving a nine-month averaged price of U$13.14/lb, compared to the annual averages of US$15.33/lb in 2011 and US$15.60/lb in 2010.

The growth in crude steel production in China has slowed down since the beginning of 2012 in a good contrast of the remarkably fast growth achieved until last year. Similarly, China's stainless steel production also slowed down in which some of the major mills started curtailment in May/June this year holding up demand for molybdenum from the stainless steel sector. Unfortunately exporting molybdenum cannot be a solution especially when the price is low at around US$11/lb because the high production cost of molybdenum oxide in China at US$12 - 13/lb and the high export duty make the export business definitely unattractive. The recent low prices is the reason of the reverse change of trade balance in the Q3.
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last modified : Thu 22 Nov, 2012 [10:22]
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