October 29 2005.
Toho Titanium Co. and Sumitomo Titanium Corp.  are expected to ask domestic volume users for a roughly 20% hike in the prices of their semifinished titanium products for fiscal 2006.
Already having won price increases averaging 20% for calendar 2006 from foreign customers, the two firms will likely get their way with domestic customers as well because they dominate the Japanese market with their high-precision smelting technology and demand for titanium remains strong.
Export prices have already been set because contracts run by calendar year. Domestic supply contracts are based on fiscal year, and prices are negotiated directly between suppliers and buyers. Domestic prices for fiscal 2006 prices are expected to be set within calendar 2005.
Harder than steel and more rust-resistant than stainless steel, titanium is used in aircraft and industrial plants, as well as golf clubs and motorcycle mufflers. Because of active plant construction in China and the Middle East, as well as production increases at aircraft manufacturers, titanium supply is becoming tight worldwide.
Both export prices for 2005 and domestic prices for fiscal 2005 were raised 30%, pushing up export prices to roughly 1,000 yen per kilogram.
In the domestic market, Toho and Sumitomo's semifinished titanium products, including titanium sponge and ingots, are bought by such volume users as Nippon Steel Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd.  and made into plate and pipe for use in aircraft and heavy machinery.

Source: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun