Demand and prices for bismuth continued to increase this past week as buyers have been actively pursuing material since early January. Prices are presently $9.70-9.80 per lb, compared to $9.60-9.70 per lb the week prior. According to sources, consumers have increased their buying stance since the Chinese market shutdown in observance of their New Year holiday. With growing concern over Fanya’s stockpiling stance, many buyers looked to increase their bismuth supply ahead of expected price gains. Despite the lack of information from within China, US domestic prices are expected to remain on the current upward trend as buying tendencies tighten current supplies. “Inquiries are coming in pretty fast,” said a source. “Some are looking to buy ,and others are just shopping around, but the strain on the market should keep moving prices up.” Small 1-to-3 mt transactions we indicated between $9.75 and $9.80 per lb, while higher quotes were rejected at $9.90 per lb and above. Sources speculated that prices are likely to eclipse the $10 per lb mark in the near-term, as downstream demand should continue to rise throughout the first quarter.