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BISMUTH ADVOCATE NEWS

Outlook Reexamined Issue No. 22 November – December 2005

This outlook is based on structured, in-depth conversations with well-placed industry observers, some preliminary statistics, and the professional judgment of the Editor/Publisher, Harold A. Taylor.

General Outlook for 2005:  The general outlook for bismuth looks neutral for 2005, or level with 2004; overall bismuth sales in 2004 were up 1% from 2003.  The outlook for indium and dimension stone is very positive, and the outlook for graphite and steel is mixed.

New readers of GAN should also check the cover for "Early-Bird", "Late-Bird", and "Pulsetaking" Outlooks, and the large body of information built up in the back issues, Issues 1 to 21.

Some recent U.S. bismuth statistics in tonnes
Consumption
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005 partial
Chemicals*
805
813
616
584
600
Bi Alloys
981
1070
646
703
690
Metal Additives**
369
388
831
1100
1080
Other
45
50
25
21
15
Total
2200
2320
2120
2420
2385
Imports
2220
1930
2320
1980
2670

* Chemicals includes pharmaceuticals, pigments, and cosmetics
** Met. Add. includes additives, mostly for steel, and galvanizing

Outlook for chemicals: The bismuth outlook for the pharmaceutical-cosmetic-pigment-other-chemical end-use, a major one, is that 2005 consumption will be about the same as 2004. 

Outlook for bismuth alloys: The other major end-use, bismuth alloys (fusible alloys and lead-free solders), including toxic lead replacement, has the potential for positive growth, but 2005 consumption is likely to be level with 2004.

The outlook for the metallurgical additives end-use that gives free-machining properties to steel, aluminum, and some other metals, plus the use in galvanizing when a more durable galvanizing is needed, is also neutral; consumption in 2005 will be level with 2004.

The MBR Leading World Nonferrous Demand Index in June 2004 was 107.8, in August 2004 was 102.1, in January 2005 was 106.0, in April 2005 was 108.4, and in June 2005 was 112.9; a clear uptrend much broader than bismuth that combined with the increase in 2005 U.S. bismuth imports and First Half Consumption and the Summer 2005 increase in prices strongly suggests an increase in bismuth demand.

Statistical Parameters:  The New York Dealer Price for bismuth in the long term tends to modestly fluctuate except for a recent uptick: the price was $2.95-$3.25 per pound in February through late March, 2004, $3.65-$4.00 in midJune, and $3.40-$3.70 in late December 2004; then $3.30-$3.50 in early March 2005, $3.45-$3.65 in July, and $4.20-$4.60 per pound in September 2005.

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