NOBLE ALLOYS H1 REVIEW: Economic Slowdown, Global Tensions Hit Noble Alloys Sentiment in Jan-Jun 2019

An overall bearish mood has prevailed in most of the noble alloys markets in the first half of the year with some prices now trading at multi-year lows in contrast to record highs hit last year.

The vanadium market fell by the most in percentage terms out of the complex with both ferro-vanadium and vanadium pentoxide prices plummeting by more than 50% since the beginning of the year. Both prices hit all-time highs in the second half of 2018. 

An uncertain global economic picture and a looming global financial slowdown amid escalating trade tensions between China and the Unites States have subdued activity in the noble alloys market since the beginning of this year. 

For tungsten, in addition to the uncertain geopolitical and economic outlook, the threat of overhanging stocks from the failed Fanya Metal Exchange is limiting any potential upside for APT prices. The European market is now trading at its lowest since July 2017. 

Some market participants are worried ammonium pentoxide stocks held in Fanya warehouses could be released, following a number of auctions of indium stocks since the start of the year. There has been no official announcement of any such stock release, however. 

Molybdenum markets have fared better in comparison with other noble alloys. Ferro-molybdenum and molybdenum oxide prices have dropped only 3.4% and 3.7% respectively since the beginning of the year, but both lack clear direction going forward amid an uncertain geopolitical outlook. 

In the second half of 2019, volatility associated with the ongoing trade spat between China and the US and its damaging effects on global economic growth will be one of the biggest factors affecting noble alloys prices. 

Here, Fastmarkets reviews the noble alloys price movements since the start of the year and the reasons for the changes.