NEW YORK Molybdenum
prices in the domestic market have softened as spot activity
"Its dead or dread at the
moment, depending on how you want to look at it," one trader
Sources expressed some surprise
at the slowing spot market after steel capacity utilization
rates recently hit a three-and-a-half-year high (AMM,
"The only way I can explain it
is that producers expanded their capacity since the downturn
and consumers can just go back to their contract supplier for
more volumes," a second trader said.
"I think consumers might have
overbought in the first quarter," the first trader added. The
spot market was said to be very active early in the year,
driven largely by stainless mills looking for more material
(AMM, Feb. 6).
Molybdic oxide is now trading
between $14.10 and $14.30 per pound compared with $14.20 to
$14.40 previously, while ferromolybdenum has held up somewhat
better, only falling 5 cents at both ends to $16.20 to $16.35
per pound from $16.25 to $16.40 per pound.
"Ferromoly(bdenum) seems to be
in a little tighter supply," the first trader noted.
Prices have been steady around
the $14-per-pound mark for oxide and about $16 per pound for
ferromolybdenum since early this year. Oxide traded around $17
per pound and ferromolybdenum around $19 per pound during the
same period a year ago, even as steel capacity utilization
rates were almost 7 percentage points lower.