A Taylor, Jr
INDIUM ADVOCATE NEWS
Price and Long-Term Outlook Issue No. 33 March 2010
Longer-term Outlook: After the price-spike of 2003-2004, one might have expected a new mine source such as the deposit at Neves Corvo in Portugal to come onstream, even though indium is a byproduct. This did not occur. Instead there has been a major increase in recycling, especially of ITO sputtering targets and in Japan, and technological improvements in this process of sputtering has made it much more efficient.
The major end-use, ITO sputtering on glass screens for flat panel TVs and laptop computers will still grow significantly, but is maturing. The most rapidly-growing end uses are likely to be in solar cells (photovoltaics), and in indium alloys that substitute for lead and have no feasible price-sensitive alternatives.
An important new indium use is entering mass production, the use of indium in solar cells, and solar cell manufacturing plants are being built or have just come onstream all over the world but especially in Asia. The economic collapse that occurred in late 2008 and early 2009 led to the abandonment of many undercapitalized solar cell plants, but most are hanging in. The amount of indium going to the world solar cell industry was about 10 tonnes in 2007, 30 tonnes in 2008, 55 tonnes in 2009, and an estimated 70 to 80 tonnes in 2010; much of this is work in progress and not very much is in finished solar cells. For comparison, 2009 world indium production was 600 tonnes (USGS).
New readers of IAN should also check the cover for "Early-Bird" Outlooks, the only place short-term outlooks appear, and the large body of information built up in the back issues, Issues 1 to 29; Issue 29 begins the reorganized series.
The New York Dealers' price for indium was $80-$95 per kg in late 2000-early 2001, then bottomed at $60-$75 per kg in late November 2002.
Then the price spike began; the price was $90-$105 per kg in early February 2003, $125-$145 per kg in early May, $160-$180 per kg in early June, $185-$225 on November 10, $260-$285 on November 17, and $305-$335 per kg on December 8, 2003. Continuing in 2004, the price was $355-$395 per kg on January 12, $415-$430 on February 9, $435-$470 on February 23, $535-$560 on March 15, 2004, and $550-$600 per kg on March 22.
After the spike, the price backed and filled around the $585-$640 per kg of May 2004, then rose to $775-$825 per kg in late September, $880-$940 per kg in late October 2004, and $850-$900 per kg from the beginning of November until the beginning of December. Finally, the price was $780-$850 per kg in late December 2004, $990-$1025 per kg in early February 2005, $980-$1050 per kg in late April 2005, hit a low at $850-$950 per kg in late July, then $940-$980 per kg in early August, and $970-$1060 per kg in midSeptember 2005. These are the highest prices since 1939!!
The NY Dealers' price for indium was $950-$980 per kg in midApril 2006. The price then continued to erode to $800-850 per kg in early June, to $700-750 in late August, and bottomed at $650-700 in late October 2006. Prices bounced back to $680-730 per kg in early March 2007, then down to $580-$630 in late August-September, $525-$575 in October, and $515-$565 per kg in midNovember 2007.
The 2008 NY Dealer's price eased down to $400-$450 in midMarch, rose to a high of $650-$700 per kg in late May 2008, eased into the $500s, then into the high $400s, and to $350-$400 in late December 2008. The price eroded further to $290-$340 in midJune 2009, and recovered to $450-$500 per kg in late September 2009.
Welcome to the website Indium Advocate News (IAN). IAN has been reorganized and will feature only prices and the longer-term outlook. The shorter-term outlook for indium will appear only on the cover's "Early Bird" issues, twice each year. The most recent detailed comprehensive reference to the production, sources, markets and end uses of indium is the Mining JournalFinancial Times Executive Commodity Report on Indium written by IAN's editor and publisher, Harold A. Taylor, Jr.