Molybdenum prices, which had skyrocketed to $30 per pound in 2007 only to plummet to around $8 per pound in late 2008, began to rebound in 2009 and are now expected to soar to $20 per pound by the end of 2010, as the global steel industry shows signs of revival. Stainless and carbon steel manufacturers in China and the developed countries have been trying to build up their stockpiles while producers are running on low inventory levels, leading to an upward pressure on prices. The only major new project currently in the pipeline is the Australian Spinifex Ridge molybdenum-copper project, which is likely to come into operation in late 2011. Overall, the world faces a deficit in molybdenum production after 2014 and the upward trend is likely to intensify.
Following a spate of fluctuations in 2009 due to the global economic crisis, manganese prices have shown a small but steady increase in the past few weeks. Global Electrolytic Manganese prices edged up to around $2,900 per tonne at the beginning of February this year compared to $2,650 per tonne at the end of 2009. This is mainly due to the rising costs of the ore itself and other inputs such as selenium dioxide and sulfuric acid. Additionally, restocking by major Chinese buyers before the Chinese New Year has contributed to the upswing in price, and the trend is likely to continue.
Magnesium prices showed an increase in late 2009, especially as the US cracked down on imports from Russia and China with anti-dumping duties. Global prices rose from $2,750 per tonne at the end of 2009 to $2,812.5 at the beginning of February this year. A global glut in supply and rise in demand from automotive die-fabricators leveling out are also important factors indicating a fairly steady level of prices and supply for some weeks to come.
Key Predictions from CriticalStrategicMetals.com:
Molybdenum - $20 USD/lb by the end of 2010.
Manganese – Continued rise in Electrolytic prices.
Magnesium – prices should begin to strengthen in 2010.