Molybdenum Market Update (October 18, 2012)

The cash price of molybdenum moved up to $24,000 to $25,000 per metric ton on the London Metal Exchange (LME) over the past week, from $22,000 to $23,000, according to Metal-Pages. LME moly inventories fell 12 tonnes. That brings prices roughly back up to their September 1 level.

The slight uptick comes against the backdrop of better-than-expected news about Chinese exports. China is the world’s largest molybdenum producer. According to the country’s customs agency, overseas shipments rose 9.9 percent in September, far ahead of the 5.5 percent gain that economists were expecting.

That raised hopes that the economic slowdown gripping the country could be easing, which would be a plus for steel demand and molybdenum prices as molybdenum is a key element in steelmaking.

Meanwhile, US spot prices for ferromolybdenum have held steady over the past week, at $13.25 to $13.75 a pound, while molybdic oxide prices inched up to $11 from $10.90, though prices are down about $0.40 a pound over the last three weeks.

Steelmakers account for most of the demand for US molybdenum, and prices are languishing due to falling steel production. In the week ended October 13, US steel output was about 1.74 million tons, down 1.2 percent from the previous week and 2.5 percent over the last two weeks.