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China's May molybdenum concentrates, oxide imports up 131% year on year

Singapore — China's May molybdenum concentrates and oxide imports surged 131% year on year to 1,812 mt, General Administration of Customs data showed.

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Last month, both Chinese and global molybdenum prices hit recent highs, while the pricing gap between the two made it more profitable for China's molybdenum oxide and ferromolybdenum producers to import raw material either in the forms of concentrate or oxide for smelting to satisfy domestic consumption for ferromoly, market sources shared.

The Platts daily dealer oxide assessment showed the May monthly average hit $7.333/lb, the highest since May 2015.

Among the major supply sources in May were Chile and Mongolia for concentrates and Chile, Mexico and the US for oxide.

Article Continues below...

Over the January-May period, China imported 8,851 mt of molybdenum concentrates and oxide, up 89.4% year on year.

As for ferromoly, China did not import any in May, meaning the volume over January-May totaled 45 mt, down 60% year on year.

Looking at exports, China's molybdenum concentrates and oxide exports totaled 612 mt in May, up 90.7% month on month and down 1.3% year on year. The core destination for oxide exports in May was South Korea.

Over the first five months of 2016, China exported 2,000 mt of such products, up 1.5% year on year.

Last month, China also exported 42 mt of ferromoly, down 36.4% year on year, with the January-May volume of 213 mt up 180% year on year.

China's ferromoly exports for June may see a surge as continuing declines in domestic ferromoly price for the past two weeks have made exports more alluring and with higher margins, market sources said.

--Hongmei Li,
--Edited by Dan Lalor,