Titanium prices see limited

Titanium prices see limited weakness so far.
Titanium prices…

Titanium prices see limited weakness so far.
Titanium prices have experienced only limited weakening so far despite forecasts of a severe crash in its largest single end-market, but a number of buyers said they think there’s worse to come.
Prices for some aerospace alloy products have declined as much as 5% since the summer, a cross-section of buyers said, although other products have held relatively steady. Those who purchase both titanium and other aerospace products, such as nickel-based superalloys, said the decline in the latter category had been much more pronounced since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Official prices on standard aircraft alloy ingot are not expected to vary greatly from $7,50 to $8,00 per lb in the fourth quarter.
“My customers are starting to see delivery push-outs, cancellations or shifts in volumes, and in Europe we see a 20% cut in incoming orders for the first half of next year,” said a supplier of downstream mill products to the aircraft industry. “But we have not yet cut our material requirements for the first quarter because our customers have not cut us back.”
All this is occurring in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks which resulted in predictions of a dive in demand as great as 40% from the commercial transport sector, a market that last year accounted for 56% of all US titanium mill product shipments.
Some people said they thought prices have not fallen more because a build-up in inventories during an extremely strong first half was actually smaller than widely assumed.
But others maintained the reason for the current lull was because so few people were actually entering new orders and it was just a matter of time before pricing comes into balance with the outlook for commercial aircraft deliveries.
They said, for example, that spot prices for vacuum-melting-quality scrap had fallen precipitously — as much as 40% prior to September — although there was not enough actual demand to tell if this reflected the current market level. This contrasts with ferro-titanium, where demand was described as sufficient to determine a market.
Lead times for rotor-grade forging billet, for example, were estimated by a buyer at about 32 weeks against “infinity” (approximately 90 weeks) before September 11. While he noted that there had been a relatively small easing in prices, he was now being quoted on a firm price basis rather than price-in-effect-at-the-time-of-shipment.
Deliveries of standard ingot were estimated at fewer than 20 weeks compared with at least twice that before September, but some buyers said they could get deliveries as quickly as three weeks in certain instances.
Compiled after materials on www.metalbulletin.com

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