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Molybdenum oxide spot prices at 10-year lows push Asian buyers, sellers to sidelines

Tokyo — Spot prices of molybdenum oxide at 10-year lows of $7.40-$7.50/lb have pushed Asian buyers and sellers to the sidelines, market sources said Monday, June 8.

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Platts assessed spot moly oxide prices at $7.40-$7.50/lb last Friday, down from $7.50-$7.55/lb Thursday and at the lowest since $7.20-$7.50/lb on February 26, 2004.

Only a handful sellers and buyers were active in Asian trading hours Monday.

One Chinese trader and a South Korean trader indicated sales interest, but not a firm offer, at $7.40/lb ex-warehouse Busan.

Two buyers in South Korea and Japan said that although they were interested in buying, they had not placed bids as it was possible prices had further to fall.

One South Korean trader said offers at around $7.30/lb may be considered, but no offer was seen at this level.

Even if offers fell to $7.30/lb, however, buyers were likely to bid at $7.20/lb and prices would continue to fall, sources said.

"People start to wonder if $7/lb could be supported," one trader said.

Two Chinese traders that are regular spot sellers said they were not in the market Monday due to a lack of inquiries. China's domestic moly prices have also fallen to 10-year lows, Chinese traders said.

Domestic moly concentrate prices were heard at around Yuan 1,000/kg metric ton unit ($163 for 10 kg of moly contained in 1 mt of concentrate) and ferromoly prices at Yuan 73,000/kg, both ex-plant basis, traders said.

"Domestic Chinese prices and international prices are almost at equal levels, so it does not make sense to either import into China or export from China... consumption is not so strong in China or in Western countries," a Chinese trader said.

A South Korea trader said it was possible South Korean spot demand would recover first as there market participants there who needed to cover requirements in the spot market.

--Mayumi Watanabe,
--Edited by Wendy Wells,