Tellurium prices have broken from their declining price trend this past month, with prices moving higher for the first time in a year. Metal Bulletin showed tellurium prices maintaining upward price momentum to a US$90 to $135 per kilogram range in the last week of August after rising to between $5 and $10 per kilogram the previous week.
London, UK-based Metal-Pages also documented the return of tellurium demand, showing a similar $5 to $10 per kilogram increase in prices since mid-August, primarily in Chinese tellurium markets.
After hovering near the $100 per kilogram floor price set by many producers, tellurium gained support from a number of strategically-minded consumers and speculative investors in Chinese markets.
Metal-Pages notes that confidence in the market was provided by Germany’s transition towards solar energy — it added another 543 MW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in July — and a sales rebound of $957 million in the second quarter of this year for First Solar, a cadmium telluride PV producer.
However, another major influential factor was increased demand for tellurium’s metallurgical applications. Demand for tellurium as an alloy, semiconductor and component in phase-change memory devices has contributed to the diversification of tellurium demand in recent months and will likely continue to drive its future.