Bismuth stocks listed on the Fanya exchange currently stand at 2,673.15 tonnes, up from 2,209 tonnes on September 22, and 1,800 tonnes on September 4.
This caused prices to rise on Wednesday October 2 to $8.30-8.80 per lb up from $8.20-8.70 on Friday September 27.
Broker-members of the exchange can obtain 134,100 yuan per tonne (9.80 per lb) when they sell to the exchange, a 19% premium on the domestic price of 108,000 yuan per tonne.
“The Fanya exchange is looking stable at the moment for indium. They have almost three years worth of total indium consumption – you can’t just keep adding to it. [So] I think they might change their approach to bismuth. However, bismuth is not as sexy as indium, so I don’t think we will see quite the same situation,” a trader said.
As indium stocks on the exchange have grown, prices have risen by as much as $145 since last year, driven by a tight physical indium spot market outside China as the country became a net importer of the metal.
However, growing stock levels and interest on the Fanya exchange might not have as big an impact for bismuth, sources said.
“Bismuth is a much bigger market than indium. The world output is around 20,000 tonnes whereas indium is 650 tonnes [a year] so just looking at the numbers I am not sure how much the Fanya exchange market will be able to stock. It is hard to tell what the impact will be,” a minor metals processor said.