Downward trend reaching Tantalum, where scrap prices sharply dropped
Amid the downward trend in all the prices of metals including steel, base metals and rare metals, a wave of falling price is reaching even tantalum, one of very few metals which have remained firm. The prices of tantalum ores CIF China have dropped to the $60/lb level. In addition, tantalum scraps which remained firmer than tantalum ores have dropped sharply.
In Europe, tantalum ores (Tantalite) prices are at $70-73/lb(FOB), down by about $5/lb compared to the previous month. Chinese tantalite CIF prices have dropped to $60-62/lb. As China has imported a substantial amount of African tantalum ores, the prices of ores were expected to drop due to kind of oversupply, but tantalum scrap prices have sharply dropped recently.
The tantalum scrap prices had kept $300/kg （PIN, vacuum grade scrap）in September, but they are falling to $240-250/kg at the moment. A tantalum trader said, “European traders seem to be in a hurry to sell all the materials in hand by reducing prices”.
It will be partly because global economic slowdown is reaching electronic materials, the main demand for tantalum, as expected.
It is said that Japanese tantalum scrap dealers are putting off purchasing materials even at $240/kg as they have already seen possible falling prices.
The tantalum scraps, which were JPY38,000/kg in early September, cannot be purchased even at less than JPY30,000/kg at the moment.
As an international conference of tantalum is going to be held at the end of month, the direction of tantalum prices will be fixed there. But, given the current situation, tantalum prices also seem to be getting to the time for falling.
（Edited by Sasaki）