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Global molybdenum production and use down in 2015
Global production of molybdenum slowed in 2015, reaching a total of 515 million lbs, down from the previous year’s record of high of 578.5 million lbs. Full year figures from the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) released today also show global molybdenum use at 506.5 million lbs, down from the previous year’s total – also a record high – of 559 million lbs.
The greatest usage of molybdenum in 2015 was in China, with a total of 177.6 million lbs, compared with 202 million lbs in 2014. Europe recorded the second biggest share with 132.6 million lbs, down from 143.4 million lbs in 2014. Usage in the USA was 53.8 million lbs, closely followed by Japan at 52 million lbs. Usage in the CIS was 21.5 million lbs, with other countries together totalling 69 million lbs.
China was also the biggest molybdenum producing area in 2015, although output decreased to 181.6 million lbs, down 9% from 200.6 million lbs in 2014. Production in South America increased by 4% from 145.9 million lbs in 2014 to 152.4 million lbs. North America became the third largest producing region after production fell from 193 million lbs in 2014 to 140.1 million lbs in 2015. Production in other countries increased by 5%, rising from 39 million lbs in 2014 to 40.9 million lbs in 2015.
New figures for the fourth quarter of 2015, also released, saw total molybdenum production fall from 129.2 million lbs in Q3 to 120.5 in Q4. Production in South America increased from 38.1 million lbs to 41.5, a 9% increase which put the region ahead of China as the biggest quarterly producer. Production in China fell by 14% from 46 million lbs in Q3 to 39.5 in Q4. North American production fell from 35.1 million lbs in Q3 to 28.8 in Q4, whilst production in other countries increased slightly from 10 million lbs in Q3 to 10.7 million lbs in Q4.
Global usage fell slightly from 124.3 million lbs in Q3 to 123.7 in Q4. Usage in China decreased from 44.1 million lbs in Q3 to 43.1 in Q4, while usage in Europe increased from 31.6 million lbs in Q3 to 32.5 in Q4. Usage in USA and Japan was 13.2 and 12.8 million lbs respectively in Q4.
Tim Outteridge, IMOA’s Secretary-General, commented: “These figures reflect the impact of the oil price drop and its associated effects, with both production and use slowing from record highs in 2014. Despite a disappointing year, the long-term forecast for demand is still buoyant.”
Notes for editors
IMOA is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of most of the world’s molybdenum producers and converters, as well as consumers and traders.
Molybdenum is added to steels and cast irons to improve strength, toughness, hardenability and weldability for numerous applications in the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, mining, chemical, oil & gas and energy generation industries.
In stainless steels and superalloys, it improves corrosion resistance and high-temperature performance and finds uses in many industrial applications. It is also used in a variety of products from catalysts and lubricants to pigments and paint.
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