Titanium prices exposed, detailed and updated as soon as possible




It is difficult to explain titanium prices by simple concepts, especially since the widespread use of titanium across all the industrial sectors. Moreover, the uses of titanium largely surpass its general perception as a structural metal. Titanium consumption after the cold ward is largely in the form of titanium dioxide. Meaning we don't need more SR-71 Blackbirds to spy on our enemies, but we rather try to outbuild them. Titanium dioxide is the principal component of paint. Houses are more beautiful when painted.

Therefore, titanium prices need to be looked at in their different instances, related to the forms titanium is manufactured and transactioned in world markets and to the different components of the cost of titanium.

The primary aspect of titanium is as a structural metal. Almost 20% of the current world consumption of titanium is in form of titanium metal. As the difference between titanium mill products (primary) and titanium fabricated products (secondary) is rather thin, analysts tend to evaluate the price of titanium per pound based on the price of titanium sponge, which is the primary result of titanium ore processing. Although often unspecified, sponge titanium prices are normally based on a minimum 93.3-percent titanium metal content with a Brinell hardness of less than 120.

It is a common belief that cyclical fluctuations of titanium prices are mainly driven by demand-side events, especially aircraft demand cycles. Although this was an accurate assessment in the initial decades of titanium development, nowadays this is not always true. The prices of titanium mill products were relatively insensitive to the declining demand of commercial aircraft that happened since 2001, and was further accentuated by the 2008 credit default swap crisis. There were no particular modifications of wholesale titanium deals whatsoever. This is a clear indicator that titanium prices are no longer solely based on aerospace demand, but rather on a mix of different industrial sectors that use titanium as a raw material.

As can you see in the graph, titanium sponge prices are on an ascending trend, which seems that is going to remain stable for at least some time, even if the air transport industry, arguably the mmost possible volume buyer for titanium metal, has yet to stabilize in order to fully accommodate the new economic conditions.

This apparently peculiar titanium trend is explained in particular by the high investment, around $500 million, that is required for a possible expansion of sponge capacity. The economic crisis prompted major titanium suppliers in closing less profitable plants, which led to an abrupt correction of prices, driven mostly by the diminished supply. It is expected that the producers will be hesitant of reopening the shut down capacities, lest they are assured that a stable and increasing demand would stabilize for at least the next several years. Until that time, titanium sponge prices are expected to maintain their high levels.

This is a trait that is not shared by refined primary titanium products, such as ingots or billet. The prices of the main workhorse of the industry, TI6AL4V alloy, have been on a constant decline, down to $8 per pound, probably mainly due to the increased inventory levels that were accumulated in the pre-crisis periods.

Other specialty prices that are of importance for the titanium industry are the prices of Ferro-titanium alloy, which has a large use in the steel industry, therefore being a important factor in the evolution of the titanium metal price and titanium scrap prices, which are sufficiently used as raw materials for primary fabrication in order to affect the price of the final product.

Titanium dioxide prices are a different matter altogether, due to the different industrial sectors titanium dioxide is used in – mainly as a mineral pigment in chemical paint and in plastic industry – and they could be overlooked completely if you’re only interested to buy titanium as a structural metal.





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