Global use of molybdenum has soared to a new high of 474 million lbs surpassing the peak use in 2007 of 470 million lbs, according to new full-year figures from the International Molybdenum Association.

About 22% of Mo is used to make molybdenum grade stainless steel, while constructional steel, tool and high speed steel and cast iron, taken together consume an additional 53%. The remaining 25% is used in upgraded products like lubricant grade MoS2, molybdenum chemical compounds and molybdenum metal.

The greatest demand for molybdenum in 2010 came from China where use increased from 119 million lbs in 2009 to 148.5 million lbs in 2010.

The second biggest user was Europe with 113.9 million lbs in 2010 up from 107.3 million lbs in 2009.

The USA and Japan were the third and fourth largest users of molybdenum accounting for 67.9 and 60.9 million lbs respectively.

North America was the largest producing region in 2010 with 173.2 million lbs but China remained the largest producing country with 159.9 million lbs. New figures for the fourth quarter of 2010, also released in May, saw North America’s molybdenum production rise to 47.8 million lbs up from 42.8 lbs in Q3. The same quarter saw China’s production drop to 35.3 million lbs from a high in 2010 of 44 million lbs in Q2.

South America was the third largest molybdenum producing region accounting for 115.8 million lbs in 2010 with other molybdenum producing regions contributing 48 million lbs.

During Q4, China used 36.2 million lbs compared with Europe’s 31.1 million lbs. The USA and Japan used 15.9 and 15.8 million lbs respectively.

All figures are million lbs contained Molybdenum.

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