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  • Aerospace titanium flying into sunnier skies for 2012

    As uncertainty over the global economic picture clouds the outlook for steel and other commodities, the future for aerospace titanium—buoyed by expanding airliner production schedules—looks bright. “In the metals industry, titanium stands out,” said John Mothersole, principal of IHS Global Insight’s pricing and purchasing service in Washington. Mothersole noted that construction in North America is “a disaster” and that metals demand from the automotive industry, while not slumping, nevertheless probably won’t reach its “demographic potential” in sales until 2013. “But when you get to aerospace, it looks great,” he said, noting that despite the overall recession sentiment, revenue passenger miles are strong while falling oil prices are a “positive” for air travel. “The industry still looks very healthy,” Mothersole said, pointing out that while the emergence of composites in airliner construction might generally be considered a problem for metals, titanium “mates well” with these non-metallic materials, helping to expand its role. Mothersole expects domestic mill product shipments—which jumped 38.3 percent to 84.4 million pounds in 2010, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)—to end 2011 at a record 89.5 million pounds and possibly even top the 90-million-pound mark. But even that bullish prediction might have to be revised upward. Following… Continue reading

  • Ferro-titanium Prices Could Be Set to Rise

    Ferro-titanium prices held on Wednesday January 4 as market participants predicted a squeeze amid tightening availability. Material traded at $7-7.25 per kg on a delivered basis, unchanged since December 23, when prices rose 10 cents at the low end of the range and 15 cents on the high. “It’s threatening to go up but it hasn’t done it yet. There could be a bit of a squeeze [on ferro-titanium]: scrap seems to have dried up considerably,” a market source told Metal Bulletin. Buyers have found it difficult to obtain material this week because many market participants have not yet returned to the market after the Christmas holidays, sources said.“There’s not much material available and not many sales people in the office,” a trader said. “I think we might have a bit of a squeeze on ferro-titanium,” a second trader agreed. One enquiry in particular caused a flurry of activity on Wednesday, a second market source told Metal Bulletin.“There was a guy this morning ringing everyone and his dog. So all the minor traders get involved and you end up with everyone calling you for the same load,” the source said.

  • Japan tops titanium sponge shipments to US

    U.S. titanium sponge imports shot up 89.7 percent in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, as Japan continued to maintain its recently won role as the largest foreign source. Imports in the three months ended June 30 totaled 7,910 tones (nearly 17.44 million pounds), up from 4,170 tones (9.19 million pounds) in the same period last year, according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) data, and 10.5 percent ahead of 7,160 tones (15.78 million pounds) in the first quarter of this year. The nearly 15,100 tones (33.22 million pounds) arriving in the first half were 86.4 percent higher than in the same period last year. The large increase in titanium sponge imports appeared to reflect this year’s rise in mill product shipments, which were up 24.3 percent in the second quarter and 24.1 percent in the first half compared with year-earlier figures. The two significant U.S. sponge producers are Titanium Metal Corp.’s Henderson, Nev., facility and the Rowley, Utah, plant of Allegheny Technologies Corp. (ATI), which is still working toward aerospace qualification. About 67 percent of second-quarter U.S. mill product shipments were used in commercial and military aerospace, according to the USGS. Japan accounted for 3,610 tones of U.S…. Continue reading