China’s Yunnan provincial government has launched stimulus plans to help germanium, indium and other metals producers in the southwest province, shoring up confidence in the spot market.
Banks will provide loans to domestic metals producers to make commercial stockpiling purchases, using the metals as mortgage. The commercial stockpiling drive will be in place for a year, with a combined total of 800,000t for key non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, germanium and indium.
Yunnan’s finance department will set up a special fund of 1bn yuan ($141mn) for metals producers to cover interest payments on bank loans. The amount will be used to cover 80pc of the interest payments on loans taken out by producers of tin, germanium and indium, and 60pc of the interest payments on loans offered to producers of copper, electrolytic aluminum, lead and zinc.
The stimulus plans are designed to alleviate the financial pressure faced by metals producers and to offset the impact from lower demand caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. The plans are expected to boost prices for germanium and indium, which are at multi-year lows now.
Prices for 99.99pc grade indium were last assessed unchanged at Yn910-960/kg ($129-136/t) ex-works on 23 April, the lowest level since Argus launched this assessment in November 2006. Prices for 99.999pc grade germanium metal were assessed stable at Yn6,700-7,100/kg ex-works, the lowest level since the end of 2016.