The price of one of the most critical materials for the Western world’s economy and defenses is spiking faster than any major commodity, reports Bloomberg.
Tungsten, used to harden steel in ballistic missiles and in drill bits, has surged more than 50% in the last two months amid growing concern about supply cutbacks in China, which produces about 80% of the metal. The country is clamping down on polluting mines and enforcing production quotas.
“The Chinese have been trying to impose control over the production in tungsten. They’ve used environmental policy to clamp down on non-quota production,” said Mark Seddon of Argus Consulting.
The price of tungsten in Europe has jumped 52% since early July, and the advance has beaten all 22 major materials in the Bloomberg Commodities Index. Tungsten has gained for six straight months, the longest rally since 2012.
The auto industry is the biggest consumer of tungsten with about 25% of supply predominately used in cutting and machining tools. It’s also used in steelmaking, mining and missile production. (Source: Bloomberg))
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