Japan Rare Metal Import Value Jumps Up in 2005

The averaged unit value of imported rare metals increased in Japan in 2005 from 2004 for 16 of 22 metals, according to the trade statistics by Ministry of Finance. The prices doubled or tripled of vanadium and molybdenum, additives for steel making, and of tungsten, the material for cemented carbide tools. The import prices of indium, rare earths, antimony and titanium also increased much. The import volume increased for 8 metals including vanadium and rare earths. Vanadium import price increased the most among 22 rare metals in 2005. The price increased to 3,866 yen per kilogram from 1,263 yen in 2004. The import volume increased by 19% to 2,713 tonnes. The averaged import value of molybdenum was 5,042 yen, increasing by 2.5 times from 2004. Import value of tungsten also increased by 2.5 times to 2,044 yen per kilogram. International sport price of tungsten rose sharply due to the shift of China from the world largest supplier to consumer with its rapid economic growth in 2005. Indium import value also jumped up which is used for transparent conductive film of liquid crystal panel. The averaged value nearly doubled from 58,832 yen per kilogram in 2004 to 101,336 yen in 2005 thanks to demand increase of indium tin oxide (ITO) targets.