China Policy could Lift Tungsten, Antimony Prices Again

Japanese industry interests see international spot price of rare metals experiences temporally adjustment though the prices of tungsten and antimony, of which China supplies large portion, decrease these days. Speculative purchase could lift the market prices after the current selling when Chinese demand grows rapidly and Chinese government is expected to terminate the value added tax return. Chinese government reduced the tax return from 8% to 5% for export of tungsten and antimony in January after the government reduced the return from 13% to 8% in May 2005. The government shifts to secure domestic resources supply to meet rapid growing domestic demand. With the Chinese policy, international spot market price of tungsten increased by more than 10% from the beginning of the year to March. The antimony price increased by around 50% by late April under the shortage of ore supply. Another reduction of tax return could impact on those rare metal prices. Rare metal interests expect Chinese government could terminate the tax return. However, a rare metal maker source said the termination is the final card for the government. China could reduce the return gradually toward the termination. International spot price of ammonium paratungstete or APT, which is the intermediate material for tungsten products used for cemented carbide tool, is US$ 23.50-25 per kilogram of tungsten trioxide. The price decreased by around 15% from the recent high in March. Antimony ingot spot price also decreased by 11% from recent high in late April to US$ 5,050-5,150 per tonne. Those prices could increase again depending on Chinese tax return policy.