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March 2006 edition

Demand from traditional titanium users will continue to sustain high price level, says Namtec

In response to the article featured in February's issue of Airframer, Dr Martin Marples from the National Metals Technical Centre offers an extended view of the titanium market.

Although Roger Hopper of Titanium International considers that prices will not sustain at present levels beyond the end of the year, based on current supply constraints and demand levels it is widely considered (by long standing industrial suppliers and users of titanium) that we will probably see a slight reduction in titanium mill prices towards the end of the year as production capacity is increased, but demand from traditional titanium users will continue to sustain a high price level.

Recently, to help the US titanium supply chain, the US government has released all its stocks of titanium sponge, with little impact on the unit price.

Historically, the global titanium market has tracked with the demand for aircraft, typically over an approximately 13-year cycle (based on aircraft development order and delivery). This cycle has been considered to be detrimental to the sustainable future of a larger titanium industry. However, the current market appears to be bucking this trend, and the evidence indicates that, in general, prices are already plateauing, but the supply/demand case would not suggest that a significant reduction in price is imminent.

Airbus might not have the highest titanium consumption per aircraft, currently at 9% in the A380, but this has risen from earlier types (such as the A320)....

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NAMTEC National Metals Technology Centre Research/Consulting Services, Technical/Eng/Scientific Studies
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