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Magnesium prices steady in quiet market

Keywords: Tags  magnesium, magnesium prices, contract business, spot business, Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — U.S. magnesium prices have held steady, due in large part to a thin spot market, sources said.

AMM’s magnesium prices remain unchanged at $2 to $2.25 per pound.

One producer source said his company recently booked a truckload of spot business at $2.22 per pound, but estimated that more than 95 percent of magnesium business in the United States is booked on long-term contract.

Still, just because the spot market is slow doesn’t mean that business is dead, the producer source said, noting that his company saw an increase in the amount of metal booked on contract in 2013. Automotive-related demand is also solid, he said.

"Automotive was so strong in 2012 that we just expected it wouldn’t continue," he said. "But contrary to our expectations, it has kept pace."

The magnesium market "could always be better, but shipments seem to be fine," one consumer said. "Prices have been very stable ... and supply seems to be able to fulfill demand."

He and others agreed that $2 to $2.25 per pound was likely representative of the market, but acknowledged that his company wasn’t in the spot market, having booked most business via annual contracts.

"Most of the people who are important consumers have already placed their business," one source said. "There is some spot business once in a while, but it’s very small."

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