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Rare earths market at pivotal point ahead of new China policies

London, Singapore 3 October 2014

The global market for rare earths is approaching a critical juncture as China, the world's largest producer, reshapes its export and production policies after losing a WTO trade case brought by the US, EU and Japan.

China is likely to ease controls on its exports in a move that could lead to increased volatility in the price of these strategic materials. But, at the same time, China will seek to pursue alternative measures to control rare earths production and exports. These could include reducing the number of producers to just six groups, making it easier for the government to control the industry, and replacing export tariffs with resource taxes on production.

Rare earths are used in applications ranging from defence systems to consumer electronics, magnets for the automotive sector and smart phones, so a shift in prices will have a clear impact on consumers.

And price changes will affect the rare earths supply balance. Mining companies outside China are developing dozens of projects to establish alternative rare earth supply chains, despite highly challenging market conditions.

In response to the growing need for greater transparency and impartial price information, Argus has launched Argus Rare Earths, a news, pricing and analysis service.

Argus Media chairman and chief executive Adrian Binks said: “Rare earths are critical to the functioning of modern economies and to our everyday lives. Argus is pleased to be able to offer reliable and impartial pricing information and analysis that will support the development of a more efficient and transparent spot market for these strategic materials.”

Argus Media metals vice-president Nigel Tunna added: “China wants to conserve its rare earths resources as it is also the world's biggest consumer of these elements and they form part of its industrial strategy for moving into higher technology manufacturing.”

The new Argus Rare Earths service, available through the Argus Direct platform, draws on the market-leading rare earths pricing and analysis provided by Metal-Pages, a UK-based company acquired by Argus in May 2014. The service provides detailed market commentary, prices and market-relevant news.

Media contacts:

Seana Lanigan
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Gabriela Alcocer
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Jim Nicholson
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About Argus Media

Argus is an independent media organisation with over 600 full time staff. It is headquartered in London and has offices in each of the world’s principal commodity centres. Its main activities comprise publishing market reports containing price assessments, market commentary and news, and business intelligence reports that analyse market and industry trends.

More than half of Argus employees are commodity journalists who specialise in reporting news and price information relating to physical energy and related commodity markets. They operate according to a rigorous Editorial Code of Conduct and a compliance and ethics policy that align with best journalistic practice, including the avoidance of conflicts of interest.

Argus is a leading provider of data on prices and fundamentals, news, analysis, consultancy services and conferences for the global crude, oil products, natural gas, electricity, coal, emissions, bioenergy, fertilizer, petrochemical, metals and transportation industries. Data provided by Argus are widely used for indexation of physical trade. Companies, governments and international agencies use Argus information for analysis and planning purposes.

Argus has 19 offices globally, including London, Houston, Washington, New York, Calgary, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Dubai, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, Astana and other key centres of the commodity industries. Argus was founded in 1970 and is a privately held UK-registered company.

ARGUS, ARGUS MEDIA, the ARGUS logo, DEWITT, FMB, FUNDALYTICS, METAL-PAGES, JIM JORDAN & ASSOCIATES, JJ&A, ARGUS publication titles and ARGUS index names are trademarks of Argus Media Limited.

Metal Pages

Argus has bought Metal-Pages, a specialist pricing, news and analysis service focusing on speciality metals, rare earths and ferro-alloys.

The acquisition will greatly increase the range of Argus information available to the metals sector

Read more about this acquisition