Tungsten Market Update (August 9, 2012)

Critical Metals

A brief overview of tungsten price developments, supply and demand, and significant market movers.

Low prices are weighing on China’s tungsten industry. Weakness in the  market has reportedly led most Chinese smelters to halt production.

China’s domestic APT prices are down to RMB 164,000 to 167,000, according to Metal-Pages data. Export prices are $370 to $375. Chinese sellers, who often resist lowering export prices even when domestic prices fall, were forced to do so last week. And even with that decline international buyers still did not show up. Given the economic situation and the summer holidays in the west, the market is largely expected to remain weak for the remainder of August.

Meanwhile, tungsten production in China increased during the first half of the year. 57,585 tons were reportedly produced, representing an increase of over 16 percent.

APT prices outside of China have remained stable for the past two months, ranging from $395 to $405, markedly lower than at the start of the year.

Investors should also remember that the SEC is scheduled to vote on rules regarding the conflict minerals provision under the Dodd-Frank Act on August 22.

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