2019 PREVIEW: Tellurium under the spotlight – bullish traders vs bearish photovoltaic producers

Much has been said of a potential increase in tellurium prices after concerns about a tellurium deficit in 2020 were raised in recent months; but despite firm demand from the solar industry, there are no clear indicators that prices will peak anytime soon due to current market dynamics.

Robust solar demand
The main driver of increased tellurium consumption is the growth in the cadmium telluride photovoltaic market, a subdivision of the thin-film solar industry consisting of tellurium and cadmium. This market accounts for about 30% of total tellurium consumption globally.
Announcements in 2018 from the world’s largest solar modules producer, First Solar, that it will expand its manufacturing plant in Vietnam by investing $830 million and build a Series 6 module manufacturing facility in the US state of Ohio have boosted tellurium price expectations.
“You would expect an increase in prices for a metal needed in a business such as solar, a business that is in good health and that is working,” a European tellurium trader said in late 2018.

“First Solar’s suppliers are creating a volcano effect,” he added. “They want to keep prices low but to attract and welcome more people in the market you...


Cristina Belda

January 14, 2019

13:48 GMT