NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Minor metals are recovered as byproducts of base metals and find application in devices such as mobile phones, miniature motors, solar panels, solar cells and computer chips. Based on their primary end-uses, minor metals are categorized into four-groups: Electronic Metals (Gallium and Germanium), Power Metals (Molybdenum and Zirconium), Structural Metals (Chromium and Vanadium) and Performance Metals (Titanium and Rhenium).
According to the London-based Minor Metals Trade Association (MMTA), its members alone account for over $10 billion in annual trade of minor metals. The MMTA includes 120 companies spread across 30 different countries. Recent statistics from the USGS show that China has the lion's share of these metals, accounting for approximately 34% of global production.
Research studies show rising demand coupled with declining inventories would lead to an almost 20% rise in minor metal prices in 2011. The study indicates that massive investments are in the pipeline for the green energy infrastructure projects worldwide, thereby boosting prices of minor metals like indium, germanium, gallium and tellurium.
On Feb. 22, 2011, the LME recorded its first successful year of trading in minor metals with over $430 million traded in cobalt and molybdenum. Cobalt traded record volumes of 7,825 tons in the price range of $35,000 to $48,000 per ton, while moly traded 3,498 tons in volumes in the price range of $30,000 to $40,000 per ton. For the first half of 2011, cobalt and moly traded at 6.8% and 9.7% higher volumes. The LME stock movements for minor metals reflect an active physical market with good support from producers registering their brands.Analysts polled by Bloomberg foresee potential upside of 18% to 65% for these six stocks with buy rating of 46% and hold rating of 40%. We have listed the stocks in ascending order of potential upside.