Japan Chemical Trading Blog
Tellurium Price Increase
Tellurium is a rare metal used as the raw material cadmium telluride for thin-film solar cells, as well as for manufacturing Peltier device, optical lens and semiconductors.
Although solar cells made with cadmium telluride are often used in Europe and the U.S. because it is inexpensive, it is rarely used in Japan since it contains cadmium, which is a harmful substance.
The price dropped below USD100 per kg at the end of last year; however, since March this year, it started to rise and has now recovered to nearly USD130.
There is some positive news in the market such as the announcement by 5N Plus (Canada) on May 27 that it renewed an exclusive cadmium telluride delivery agreement, valid until 2019, with First Solar, one of world’s major solar panel manufacturers.
According to Japan Metal Bulletin on July 14, one of copper refinery in Japan stopped their supply recently and supply is getting shorted while the demand is stable.
Because tellurium was traded at the record high price of over USD400 3 years ago, some speculators point out that prices will keep rising. Price movements should be closely watched while monetary easing policies continue around the world.