Magnesium prices continued the downward trend seen in recent weeks as buyers refrained from making holiday-season purchases. In China, 99.9 percent min magnesium ingot traded between RMB 16,600 and RMB 17,300 (US$2,664 to $2,775) a tonne this week, down 0.6 percent from last week. The price for low-magnesium, battery-grade mischmetal was flat at RMB 150,000 to RMB 160,000 ($24,068 to $25,673) per tonne.

“Lower prices are caused by weakening demand in the holiday season when holders of stocks usually clear year-end inventory and buyers live hand to mouth,” a trader from Guangdong told Metal-Pages.

Chinese domestic magnesium has seen slow consumption from the magnesium powder and secondary aluminum sectors. Meanwhile, the European market has been waiting to see what China will do with regard to export taxes. Yesterday, Metal-Pages reported that the Chinese government has removed export taxes on magnesium, as well as on manganese and silicon. Most metal commodities are subject to the same export tax rates next year as in 2012.

In Europe, magnesium spot prices have remained stable over the last couple of weeks, trading in the range of $3,250 to $3,300 per tonne, down $50 from the range seen between mid-November and the start of December.