LOS ANGELES Titanium spot
prices have remained flat this year, and some market sources
are now wondering if the bottom is near.
"Prices are holding up at a low
level, but our quoting activity is low and lead times are way
in," one distributor said, noting that overall, spot prices
have been flat or gradually eroding since early 2012. "If
were not at the bottom, then we have to be close."
Spot prices for benchmark 6
aluminum/4 vanadium standard aerospace ingot remain stuck at
$10 to $10.25 per pound, with little to suggest an imminent
shift in either direction.
Demand for titanium scrap
remains "in the doldrums," market sources said, with expected
dealer buying prices for 6/4 bulk weldables estimated at $2 to
$2.50 per pound, and only if a dealer whos actually in
the market to buy material can be found.
Despite battery problems that
have grounded Chicago-based Boeing Co.s 787
Dreamlinerthe aircraft program thats the largest
consumer of titaniumsuppliers havent been asked to
slow down raw materials and component deliveries, market
"I think we could be at the
bottom," a mill source said, citing some increase in demand for
non-aerospace industrial titanium.
Sources in the industrial
market, however, described business as spotty, with
mining-related demand among the leading sectors.
Moreover, any indication that
Dreamliners will remain in their hangars for an extended period
of time, causing Boeing to issue a slowdown order, could help
suppress prices. And others say that judging by the low point
of past market cycles, theres still another 15 to 20
percent that might be wrung out of spot prices.