2016 REVIEW: Most Chinese minor metals stage recovery following the fallout of Fanya’s collapse

The majority of Chinese minor metals prices have rebounded from lows in 2016 amid joint production cuts, positive sentiment within the commodities market and purchases from the country’s State Reserve Bureau (SRB).

Most Chinese minor metals prices were at multi-year lows in late 2015 and early 2016 as the ghost of Fanya Metal Exchange haunted the market, after the exchange stopped buying minor metals from the domestic market in the second quarter of 2015.

These low prices prompted market participants to find ways to support prices, and so production cuts, SRB’s purchase and speculative activities entered China’s minor metals market.

Metal Bulletin outlined the performance of minor metals in the Chinese market as following:

Minor metals

Price at start of year

Year-end price

Percentage change

Unit

Selenium dioxide

60-70

280-320

361.5%

yuan per kg

Selenium

95-120

260-310

165.1%

yuan per kg

Tellurium

200-220

370-400

83.3%

yuan per kg

Antimony

34,000-35,000

49,000-50,500

44.2%

yuan per tonne

Gallium

750-800

950-1,050

29.0%

yuan per kg

Bismuth

59,000-61,000

70,000-76,000

21.7%

yuan per tonne

Indium

1,400-1,450

1,400-1,500

1.8%

yuan per kg

Germanium

7,500-8,000

6,500-7,000

-12.9%

yuan per kg


Selenium

Selenium performed moderately well throughout the most of 2016, but prices of selenium dioxide and selenium powder soared mid-December following a steep increase in the price of electrolytic manganese flake and the shutdown of some small selenium dioxide plants as China implemented stricter environmental policies across the country.

Tellurium
Tellurium prices dropped to below producers’ costs in late 2015 and some plants halted or cut production to support the metal’s price. Prices recovered slightly amid producers’ refusals to lower prices further as demand continued to drop despite their efforts to attract buying interest.

Antimony

Antimony prices hit their lowest levels since the financial crisis in 2008-2009 earlier this year, but rumours that China’s SRB and producers’ refusals to sell at low prices gave support to the metal.

The SRB’s purchase of 7,500 tonnes of antimony in late October and several mine shutdowns due to environmental concerns in December pushed prices up to a twenty-month high at 50,500 yuan per tonne.

Gallium
The gallium market saw large amounts of production cut in the first two quarters of this year as producers struggled to cope with the low prices. Following the consumption of physical inventories, prices were able to recover in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Bismuth and Indium
The bismuth and indium markets saw a lot of price volatility, going through several bouts of uptrends and downtrends as big market participants and investors took part in profit-taking activities throughout the year.

Germanium
Feeble demand and sufficient supply continued in China’s germanium market in 2016, and the metal’s prices have fallen 12.9% since the beginning of 2016.

Anna Xu

anna.xu@fastmarkets.com

Published

Anna Xu

December 30, 2016

11:30 GMT

Shanghai