Weak buying in Chinese markets has kept tellurium down in a season that is traditionally slow for the metal.
Signs of recovery have been present within both China’s manufacturing and services sectors after protracted periods of stagnated growth and sinking production in key industries.
A report released in early January by the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing shows that the manufacturing sector grew at the fastest rate in 19 months, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
Tellurium demand in China is being driven by growth in a number of consumer sectors, including refrigeration, air conditioning and electronics. Demand for these goods also tracks alongside industrial and manufacturing growth, which helps set the tone for consumer sentiment and purchasing habits.
Prices of 99.99-percent grade tellurium fell slightly in the previous month, down RMB 50/kg (US$8.30) to between RMB 1,100 and 1,150 per kilogram (US $176.73 – $184.77/kg), according to Metal-Pages data.
The lack of price support is likely due to the continued sluggishness of Chinese economic recovery. Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the state-run Development Research Center, cautioned that while the manufacturing numbers are positive, “recovery is still relatively weak”, Bloomberg reported.