CM’s research into the global tungsten industry began in 2006, when the company-initiated coverage of China’s growing tungsten concentrate and APT sectors for a few select clients. Since then, CM has conducted a wide range of detailed, deep diving tungsten industry studies covering the entire tungsten value-chain, from mining and concentrating through to finished tungsten parts.
The trajectory of the global tungsten industry is correlated to global economic growth, although swings in specific end-use tungsten markets and changes to inventories at different points of the value chain, can both have a significant impact on demand and prices.
CM’s current 5-year global tungsten market outlook is broadly in-line with forecast global GDP growth, although with a disproportionately stronger link to China’s GDP, given the size and influence of China’s supply base on global pricing. Our price outlook sees concentrate, and therefore APT, prices remaining weak over the short term, but strengthening over the outlook period, driven by mounting pressure on China’s tungsten value chain, especially miners and concentrate producers, to comply with strict environmental requirements. Deteriorating head grades are likely to create additional cost pressures.
We also believe China is poised to finally address some chronic over-capacity problems, which has dogged the industry for years. And, as it does, we forecast a higher cost base, higher utilisation rates and, ultimately, higher prices.
Our research also concludes that tungsten recycling, or secondary processing, is likely to increase, especially in China, over the longer term, which will meet some of the additional demand. However, our modelling indicates that tightening Chinese supply and a resulting higher price environment would provide sufficient economic incentive to induce more ROW capacity. We therefore take the view that additional non-Chinese concentrate capacity will, over the medium term, come on-stream, driven by higher prices and constrained Chinese supply.
The CM Group has a proven capability to conduct detailed market studies, supply demand analyses and a range of other specific, single scope studies in China as well as other South East Asian countries. CM’s project work regularly sees its teams on the ground in countries as diverse as Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brazil, Myanmar and Vietnam. Our regional hubs in Singapore, Chengdu and Beijing reduce the need for lengthy field visits because we can deploy our specialist teams to target locations quickly and at low cost.