Tellurium Market Update (November 7, 2012)

Chinese tellurium prices have leveled off in recent weeks and it appears that the beginning of a tellurium market rally has slowed as a result.

Prices for tellurium 99.99-percent grade stabilized at RMB 1,200 to 1,300/kg (US$192 to $208), bringing an end to the two months of increases seen since mid-August.

Metal-Pages reported that a tellurium producer from China’s Hunan province believes that markts the end of the run on prices for the time being.

“End-user demand is steady and prices are unlikely to be pushed up further as investors have retreated from the market,” Metal-Pages reported.

The same type of speculation and activity seen in Chinese markets in recent weeks has also impacted European prices. Demand for 3N5 and 4N tellurium (a reference to the purity of the metal) in Europe continues to grow, and prices have risen from $125 to $150/kg to the $140 to $160/kg range.

Some sources expect prices to top the $200/kg level, Metal-Pages reported, but it is believed that European tellurium prices will likely follow the same path as Chinese markets.

While much tellurium is typically bought by cadmium-telluride customers, recent demand appears to be coming from bismuth-telluride customers in Asia. Bismuth telluride is used primarily in refrigeration technologies.

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