China Minmetals Expects Antimony Price to US$ 4,200-4,300 in 2006

The executive of China Minmetals Non-Ferrous Metals, the world largest antimony producer, indicated that the firm expects the international antimony price would increase to US$ 4,200-4,300 per tonne in 2006, according to a source of Japanese trading house. The firm aimed US$ 4,000 last year and raised the estimate for 2006. The antimony price maintains the high level at around US$ 3,700-3,800 at present. Tight supply is another positive factor and the price is likely to rise further.China accounts for about 70% of the world antimony production and most are treated by China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals, the group company of China Minmetals Corporation. Practically the international antimony price is greatly controlled by business activities of the firm. The firm has adjusted its output for recent 2 years as a measure to support the antimony market. The export was also regulated and the international antimony price (99.65% of purity) has increased from US$ 2,050-2,150 per tonne at the end of 2003 to US$ 3,700-3,800 at present.Output control of the firm has 2 backgrounds. One is that the firm prioritizes domestic antimony demand in China and the other is that the firm cannot recover the output volume yet. Ores are in chronic shortage after the cave-in accident at the large mine in Guangxi, China in 2001. The firm covers the shortage with ores purchased from Australia.