Steve Nichols

Now seems to be a good time to buy aircraft-grade titanium. So say exhibitors Airport Metals and Vulcanium (Hall 6/B2).

They both agree that prices have stabilised after their dizzy heights of a year ago.

Jerry St Clair of Vulcanium says the worldwide price of titanium has gone down from a typical $100 per pound for 6AL-4V sheet to $50 or even $35 if you shop around.

He blames a number of factors, including aircraft manufacturers that predicted they required more than they actually did due to production cut backs.

"They still have their own mini-stockpiles and I can't see the price changing much until they are used up," says St Clair. "But that inventory glut should dissipate by the end of the year."


Robert Kraly of Airport Metals agrees. "Some of the shortage last year was also due to golf club manufacturers taking a lot of the metal, but they seem to be going back to traditional alloys again," he said. The world's titanium comes from Africa, Australia, China, Europe, North America, South America and the former USSR. Russia is fast becoming a major supplier. "They are sitting on tonnes of the stuff," says Kraly, "and are becoming more astute at bargaining.

"When a company like Boeing needs to use about $40 million worth of titanium a year you begin to see how important the market is - and how easily it is affected by up and downturns in demand."

Source: Flight Daily News