Strategic metals – Market news (Newsletter Nr. 68)

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Despite the actual uncertainties around a possible trade war most of the strategic metals have shown an ongoing upturn in prices. This not only applies for the most demanded battery metals Cobalt and Lithium but also for a number of so-called technology metals.

Gallium on the rise

In recent months price for gallium has increased sharply. The positive development of 5G networks and growing demands from the LED industry in particular along with a tighten supply have caused prices to keep moving up. According to Argus, China as the world’s main gallium producer currently supplies about 23-25 t/month whereas they have inquiries for about 30 t/month. We still remember various factories shut down or halted production throughout 2017 leading to a cut back of capacities.

Unchanged situation for Germanium

Since the publication of our previous newsletter there was another 10% price increase. But nevertheless there still seems to be room for prices to go up further. This is indeed not driven by increased demands but rather on reduced supply of raw material as well as finished products like germanium dioxide and germanium metal.

Indium still very exciting

Indium price made another 20% over the past 2 months. However, this has not so much to do with an increased consumption. Instead there is still a lot of interest from the investor side. Apart from that Beijing’s environmental program also seem to have some driving impact on prices.

Upturn in Rare Earths prices

After the Chinese New Year increased inquiries along with tight spot supply has lifted prices for a number of elements like neodymium, praseodymium, terbium, dysprosium and gadolinium. But there is also some impact from the environmental actions that have led to rising ore costs. These days most suppliers are reluctant to sell on expectation of higher prices in the near term.

New offshore deals enlighten Rare Earths outlook

So far there was only little development in offshore wind farms in certain European countries. But new projects have been launched now in France, Poland and Italy who are among those countries with the longest coastlines in Europe. Especially in France and Poland there seems to be a lot of support from their Governments. France aims to increasing the share of renewable energy to 40% within the next 12 years. Although it will take a number of years before those projects will go operational it will require a lot of the magnetic materials like neodymium and dysprosium.