Titanium prices are subject both to long term trends and periodic volatility. Higher costs for raw materials and energy, as well as increasing demand for titanium in a range of consumer products, work to increase titanium prices. Periodic episodes of excess titanium stocks, or sudden dips in demand (as when orders are cancelled for aircraft manufacture) cause downward price pressures.
Although the majority of titanium is used in the production of titanium dioxide, a powder with superior refractory qualities, the commercial and military aerospace industries remain major consumers of titanium metals. Additional applications for titanium in the chemical, medical, and consumer sectors of the economy create additional demand for titanium metal, but demand in the aerospace sector continues to play a significant role in titanium pricing.
In fact, titanium was used by the Russians in the cold war in order to allow for their submarines to travel deeper due to titanium providing a higher tolerance for pressure. And while that is a very large application, titanium is also heavily prevalent in the jewelry industry as well as it is one of the most popular metals as it can be easily colored and has relative inertness.
Titanium itself is relatively abundant in the earth’s crust. Producing titanium commercially, however, it is a complex and expensive process with an end product that is normally referred to as titanium sponge. The costs of production (most commonly through a method known as the Kroll process) make titanium relatively expensive in comparison to its abundance.
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