Harold A Taylor,
INDIUM ADVOCATE NEWS
Issue No. 2 January - February 2001
Outlook for indium, 2001: While consumption of indium appears to have been expanding rapidly in much of 2000, particularly in flat panel screens, the presently-unknown numbers for the latter part of 2000 may not have been nearly as rosy. After dropping twice in late 1999, prices held steady well into 2000. Sales of internet-related items, such as handheld computers, lap-top computers, and cellular phones, did not meet expectations in latter 2000, cratering many of the NASDAQ (and other) stocks of the firms producing them or involved with them: certainly an ominous development. At this time, the U.S. economy appears to be weakening, particularly in the areas that use indium like LCDs and flat-panel screens. Things will appear to be a little clearer when partial 2000 data is provided by the USGS in one or two months, to be summarized here in a later issue.
Indium prices, latter to yearend 2000: The Metals Week NY Dealer price for indium metal has been eroding from $100-120 per kg in early September to $90-115 per kg in early November to $80-95 in early January 2001. The Metals Bulletin Free Market price also decreased from $130-150 per kg in early September to $110-130 per kg in early January.
Demand in 2000: Partial 2000 U.S. and Japan statistics suggest that world demand in 2000 may have risen from the 1999 level by around 20%, with North America-Europe less and the Far East more. The price erosion suggests that supply must have risen even more.
Metal Bulletin Monthly (September 2000) had a very helpful and complete article on indium consumption in LCDs (liquid crystal displays), mostly in Japan but with a brief discussion of the situation in Taiwan. The latest hot item in Japan is the internet-enabled cell phone. Japanese firms producing primary and secondary indium and indium tin oxide are described. Statistics are also given; some of the (large) numbers must include use of recycled (secondary) indium and probably do not separate out Japanese exports of indium and indium tin oxide; Japanese consumption was said to have almost doubled from 1996 to 1999.