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China’s rare earth magnet exports up in 2017

02 Feb 2018 12:43 GMT
China's rare earth magnet exports up in 2017

Beijing, 2 February (Argus) — China's exports of rare earth permanent magnets rose last year in response to increasing demand from the vehicle manufacturing sector.

Exports of rare earth magnets reached 29,907t in 2017, up by 11pc on the year. The average export price rose by 1.8pc to $49.10/kg on year.

December exports totalled 2,910t, up by 15pc from 2,532t a year earlier. The average export price increased by 17pc year on year to $54/kg. And December exports increased by 11pc from 2,614t in November, while the average export price fell by 2.2pc on the month from $55.20/kg.

Chinese magnet exporters raised their offer prices last year, as demand for electric vehicles, renewables and carbon emission reduction technologies grew. Tight spot supply in the rare earth market, resulting from environmental regulations and crackdowns on illegal material, has pushed magnet prices higher since June 2017. But prices declined in December, as rare earth values eased because of high inventories.

China produces more than 80pc of the world's permanent rare earth magnets, which are widely used in the manufacture of electric and hybrid vehicles. Light element neodymium is the most used rare earth in neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets, and its consumption within the automotive sector is the highest at 67pc. Praseodymium is also a prominent component, accounting for 22pc. Medium and heavy rare earths occupy a smaller share, with gadolinium at 2pc, dysprosium at 5pc and terbium at 0.2pc.