3 February 2023 – Molybdenum prices continue to rise and at record high in February 2023. Pure molybdenum is more than $100,000 per tonne. Supply will be tight for years. Stainless steel producers already have to wait for molybdenum supplies. Molybdenum now also in hydrogen electrolyzers? Chromium ore prices also at record levels. Indian Adani Group loses 100 billion due to short-seller attack?
Molybdenum prices rocket upwards
Molybdenum prices had already reached their highest level in 17 years by the end of January 2023. Pure molybdenum has now cracked the $100,000 per tonne mark in Asia, up almost 150% since February 2021.
Why are molybdenum prices so high?
There are several reasons. Mines have been cutting back on molybdenum production for years. At the same time, the quality of the mined ores has declined sharply. According to analysts, it is currently foreseeable that the available quantity of molybdenum will not be able to cover demand until at least 2025. A shortfall of at least 84,000 metric tonnes is expected in the next three years. At the same time, the producing countries, above all China, can no longer keep up with production.
Important raw material for stainless and tool steels
The influence this has on the molybdenum prices, but also of further processed products, can no longer be overlooked in the market. Stainless steel prices for the grades AISI 316/316L (1.4401, X5CrNiMo17-12-2, UNS S31600/ 1.4404, UNS S31603, X2CrNiMo17-12-2) have jumped significantly. Stainless steel producers are already waiting for the necessary raw material supplies to be able to produce 316/316L at all. Delivery times for 316 from new production are already becoming much longer.
But molybdenum is not only used in stainless steel, but also in many other alloyed steels and tool steels.
Tip: Keep an eye on chrome prices
The prices for chrome ores had also recently reached their highest level since January 2021 and were even higher than the record value from May 2022. After the FerroChrome benchmarks were last carried over from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023 without changes, a new increase in the benchmark prices is indicated here. Prices for the stainless steel grade AISI 430, which is considered to be the benchmark for the chrome-dominated stainless steel grades, are already rising worldwide.
Hydrogen electrolyzers: Possible substitute for platinum?
Molybdenum is being considered by the manufacturers of hydrogen electrolyzers as a possible replacement raw material. As a substitute for the even rarer and more expensive platinum. A recent study (July 2022) concluded that moly could replace platinum as a catalyst in hydrogen production in the future. The incentive should be readily apparent, even at $100,000/MT, the metal is significantly more attractive for the production of hydrogen electrolyzers than a tonne of platinum.
India’s Adani Group loses $100bn in short-seller attack
The Indian Adani Group, which made headlines last year about a possible entry into the steel sector with a cooperation of the South Korean steel giant Posco, shows once again how dangerous short-seller attacks can be. US short sellers from Hindenburg Research had made massive accusations against Adani Enterprises, triggering a 100 billion dollar crash at the corporate empire.
According to media reports, the juicy details have now also attracted the attention of the Indian Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, there is speculation in the Indian media that an important stainless steel figure, Sajjan Jindal, could also be involved in the incident.
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