HONG KONG, Sept 13 (Reuters) - China's State Reserves Bureau plans to buy the semiconductor material germanium from domestic producers to build a stockpile in the world's top producer of the metal, a trading platform for minor and precious metals reported.
Four leading producers of germanium -- Yunnan Germanium , Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium, Shenzhen Zhongjin Lingnan Nonfemet and China Germanium Company Ltd -- have received notices about state purchases, the Fanya Metal Exchange said, quoting the general manager of Yunnan Germanium. (www.fyme.com.cn)
Bao Wendong at Yunnan Germanium, the country's top producer of the metal, revealed the state buying plan at a recent industry forum in China, the website said on Wednesday.
State buying will drive up the price of germanium, the Fanya Metal Exchange believes, but the report gave no details of how much germanium the State Reserves Bureau plans to buy, or when.
The exchange is based in Yunnan province in southwestern China, and trades germanium. The same report was also posted on CNMN.com.cn, which is operated by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association.
In June, sources said China's state economic planner was considering ways to reshape the country's programme of stockpiling strategic materials and could include other metals.
China does not publish details of its metals stockpiles. The state buying agency bought metals via public tenders in late 2008 and early 2009.
Germanium, used as a semiconductor in transistors and other electronic devices, finds application in optic fibre networks and infrared night vision systems, among others.
Traders said a six-year 375-tonne supply agreement in June between Yunnan Germanium and Chinese solar energy company Hanergy had tightened supply in the international market, pushing prices up to 7-1/2 month highs.
Germanium prices in Europe GERM-LON were quoted at $1,450-$1,600 per kg in late July, the highest level since mid-December, and up around 30 percent off their 2012 low hit in May. The prices were quoted at about $1,575 in late August. (Reporting by Polly Yam; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) (firstname.lastname@example.org; +852 2843 6933; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)