Japan Rolled Titanium Output Drops by 3.6% in F2005

Tight supply of titanium ingot gets serious in Japan. Japanese shipment of titanium rolled products decreased by 3.6% to 17,669 tonnes in fiscal 2005 ended March 2006 from the previous year, decreasing for the first time in 2 years, announced by Japan Titanium Society on Friday. Production of sponge titanium, material for titanium ingot, increased by 31.2% to 33,026 tonnes thanks to output expansion by Sumitomo Titanium and Toho Titanium. However, import of titanium materials including ingot decreased sharply in fiscal 2005 and Japanese titanium rolled products maker failed to meet all of the increasing demand.The titanium materials import decreased sharply from 5,570 tonnes in 2004 to 3,930 tonnes in 2005. The import decreased by 54% to 1,141 tonnes from Russia and by 42% to 725 tonnes that from U.S.A. Titanium metal demand is rapidly increasing for airplanes in the world and titanium material shipment is decreasing bound for Japan where most titanium demand is for non-plane related.The lower import of titanium metal suffered Japanese makers’ titanium rolled products output. The material shortage is especially serious for chemical and seawater desalination plants which need large volume of titanium. In seawater desalination plants, titanium and copper alloy are used as materials for condenser tubes and titanium is especially used for applications in severe condition. However, copper alloy is recently used more than before under titanium tight supply.