Some of the key metals used in the production of Powder Metallurgy products such as structural parts, self-lubricating bearings, and hardmetal tools, have seen marked downward slides over the first half of 2012 mainly as a result of declining demand and the resulting oversupply and build up of stocks.
For example, tungsten production in China increased by a reported 16% to 57,585 tons in the first half of 2012, but with the global market largely expected to stay weak there is potentially an oversupply situation. Chinese tungsten APT export prices have declined from just under $410/mtu at the start of 2012 to a range of $370 to $375 in mid-August. WC powder (3-4 microns) FOB P.R.C. fell below $45/lb in August from around $55/lb at the beginning of the year.
LME copper, which has dropped more than 27% from a record $10,190/ton in February 2011, has been stuck in a narrow trading range between $7,300 and $7,600/t since July 2012. Nickel has also moved downwards from $11/lb in August 2011 to less than $7/lb in August.
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]