REFILE-EUROPE MINOR METALS-Tight supplies help prices, volumes


(Refile fixes typo in "tight" in headline)

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Many minor metals, including indium and selenium, gained over the last week helped by tight supplies and speculative trading, although volumes remained low due to the summer lull and weak demand.

Indium , used to make liquid crystal displays screens, rose to about $362.50 a kg from $312.50 a kg last week, with many traders expecting prices to rise in the coming months as demand improves.

"There is material available," one trader said. "China has lost interest on the low numbers and are successful in increasing the prices."

"If they stick to this policy a few days more when people come back from their holidays...they will be astonished," he added. "China see stronger interest in the market from industry ... there is no reason why indium should be so low."

China, the world's top producer of indium, is likely to increase demand for the minor metal, with surging demand for televisions a result of stimuli spending. [ID:nLE548939]

Traders are now debating how far prices can rise in the coming months, with estimates ranging between $500 and $700 a kg.

"There is just too much going on - restrictions on production in China caused by much needed pollution control, and the array of new uses for indium in solar-related technologies," said another trader. "Although many of these uses only use minor amounts of indium ... the market is only looking onwards and upwards."

Selenium , a by-product of copper, nickel, or zinc, climbed to about $27.50 a lb from $24.50 a lb the week before. The minor metal touched $39 a lb in March last year, before the economic slowdown sent commodity prices plummeting.

Traders said tight supplies of the metal, used to produce electrolytic manganese, was lifting the price, as production cutbacks, rising Chinese demand and re-stocking affected prices.

"The Indians are still trying to buy selenium," said one trader. "Probably the customers behind this are the Chinese."

But with the summer lull, many traders said volumes were low and as with base metals, September would be a key month to determine whether real demand had returned.

"The market is quiet but firm," one trader said. "People understand that demand is increasing and the supply chain has run dry."

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(Reporting by Michael Taylor; editing by Sue Thomas)



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