Indium Spot Market Price Drops

International spot market price of indium decreased to the lowest level since October 2004. Demand of indium tin oxide sputtering target material, which is the largest application, keeps firm when liquid crystal panel is getting larger along with the market expansion. However, Japanese makers of target material secure the ingot with long term contracts. Japanese don’t need to purchase Chinese ingot in the spot market while the recycled metal supply increases in Japan. Chinese traders apparently try to sell the metal more at lower price. The international spot market price decreased to US$ 790-840 per kilogram for product with 99.99% purity in the month, which is US$ 50-70 lower than late May. The price decreased by near 20% after the price hit highest level at US$ 980-1,020 in February-March since September 2005. China is the largest indium producer in the world. Japan imported 422 tonnes of indium including the scrap in 2005 and China represented 43% of the import, according to Ministry of Finance. However, an industry source said most of Chinese ingot has less than 99.99% purity though Japanese ITO makers need indium with 99.99% purity. Japanese target material makers including Nippon Mining & Metals and Mitsui Mining & Smelting purchase high grade indium ingot from suppliers in Canada, USA and South Korea under long term contracts. Japanese buyers also have some long term contracts with Chinese suppliers but they are reluctant to buy in the spot market.