三月底，5N PLUS 成为泛亚交易所最新授权的铋生产商，也是第一个加入泛亚的外资公司。这一消息引发了行业内的轰动。
REVIEW OF 2014: Minor metals see a year dominated by the Fanya exchange
At the end of 2013, the minor metals markets knew that the Fanya exchange was going to be the main driver in 2014. But they could not predict what would happen much beyond that.
And they were right: the Fanya Metal Exchange has certainly remained centre stage.
As the year kicked off, the ever-rising indium and bismuth stocks on Fanya caused indium and bismuth prices to race up in the first quarter, sparking hopes among producers and traders that the slump in minor metals was over its worst.
By February, some traders were reporting difficulties finding a position in the indium market, as producers outside China focused on supplying end-users, at a time when supply was already tight.
And in the bismuth market, producers in China chose to hold back from selling in the hope of further price rises.
With bismuth and indium prices on their way up, the announcement in March that the exchange would be adding tellurium, selenium and antimony contracts sparked interest and speculation over whether these metals would also fall under the influence of the "Fanya effect".
While none of these metals has rallied on the back of their listing on Fanya, some market participants maintain that Fanya’s influence has given some support to their prices.
Even 5N Plus’s stock benefited from the high investor demand on the Fanya exchange.
Although the indium and bismuth rallies petered out by the second quarter of the year, bismuth prices then took off again over the summer.
Fanya’s profile in the west
Prices were not the only area in the minor metals markets where the Fanya exchange exerted its influence this year. Over the course of the year, the exchange also started to become more prominent in the western market.
At the end of March, 5N Plus caused a stir when it became the latest producer qualified to deliver bismuth on the exchange, and the first non-China headquartered company to join Fanya.
The exchange then surprised the market further by saying that it was looking to find a way to allow companies outside China to trade on the platform, and that all companies with offices in China were free to join.
Fanya’s profile in the western world grew as it applied for membership of the Minor Metals Trade Assn (MMTA) in April, even appearing at the MMTA’s conference in London to explain to the west exactly how its business works.
But its application sparked fierce debate among market participants, with some raising questions about how the exchange works, while others argued that it is an integral part of the minor metals market that needs to be accepted.
Fanya ultimately failed in its bid to join the MMTA, as members voted against allowing companies involved in the sale of minor metals to private investors to join the association, a move that barred its membership.
Despite this setback, it looked as though 2014 would be a repeat story to 2013: of investor buying on the Fanya exchange relentlessly pushing up minor metals prices and the exchange’s role continuing to grow in the market.
The situation turns
But then, as the year drew to a close, the situation turned. Bismuth prices started to fall almost as quickly as they had risen, while indium prices plunged in China, and started to wane in the international market.
The cause was the exchange’s announcement that it had undergone an official investigation, and would be adjusting its trading rules.
The rule changes included requiring investors to register under their real names and the adoption of a "T 5" trading rule, which meant investors would have to wait at least five days between buying and selling positions, effectively raising the risk levels for short-term speculators.
Then, on December 8, Fanya made another announcement to say it was suspending its commercial stockpiling for a few days while aninspection of its stocks was conducted.
The news put particular pressure on the bismuth market, with one trader saying players were "rushing for the door". While, with indium, few were keen to buy the metal.
What these developments mean for the minor metals markets in the long run is not yet clear.
But with more than 3,000 tonnes of indium and more than 18,000 tonnes of bismuth stockpiled on Fanya, minor metals players are keeping a close eye on any developments.
Some maintain that it is likely the situation on the exchange will go back to normal, but others said the rule change will discourage investors from investing on Fanya, either slowing down or halting the stockpiling of minor metals on the exchange.
While the outlook for minor metals is still as murky as it was last year, this year market players are no longer so certain Fanya will remain the dominant force next year. 2015 could be another year driven by Fanya, but it could also be a year when fundamentals come back into focus.