The monthly Rare Earths MMI® continued its nosedive, dropping three points to register a value of 43 in February, a decrease of 6.5 percent.
What makes this month’s reading interesting, though, has little to do with the headline number and more to do with which metals within the complex led the rout –in particular, yttria, terbium oxide, rare earth carbonate, praseodymium oxide, neodymium oxide, europium oxide and dysprosium oxide.
The other half of the metals within the index actually posted price gains, including neodymium, praseodymium neodymium, and lanthanum oxide, among others. However, neodymium has now also dropped in price, since the monthly MMI reading on Feb. 1.
Rare earth analysts have reported that Chinese rare earth export numbers remain problematic, in that different Chinese sources have published different numbers.
Regardless of which numbers one looks at, rare earth prices have dropped because more supply has and will continue to come on-stream, including from Lynas, who as of this writing may have just cleared its last legal hurdle and will commence operations in Malaysia this month.
Until/unless China itself creates more of its own demand for rare earth metals, Chinese rare earth producers’ net profits will continue to slide. And prices may continue to do the same.
Primary Price Drivers of the Rare Earths Index
At CNY 2,075 ($333.67) per kilogram, dysprosium oxide was down 15.1 percent for the month. Terbium oxide prices fell 12 percent to CNY 3,900 ($627.13) per kilogram.
The price of neodymium oxide fell 9.4 percent to CNY 375,000 ($60,301) per metric ton. At CNY 5,900 ($948.74) per kilogram, europium oxide was down 2.2 percent for the month.
The price of yttrium increased a slight 0.3 percent, ending at at CNY 400.00 ($64.32) per kilogram. Prices for lanthanum oxide rose 0.3 percent, holding at around CNY 50,500 ($8,121) per metric ton. Neodymium rose slightly, by 0.3 percent, ending up around CNY 455,000 ($73,165) per metric ton. The price of terbium metal rose 0.3 percent over the past month to CNY 7,850 ($1,262) per kilogram. Cerium oxide increased 0.3 percent last month, pegged at CNY 50,000 ($8,040) per metric ton.
The Rare Earths MMI® collects and weights 14 global rare earth metal price points to provide a unique view into rare earth metal price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Rare Earths MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.