Despite precipitous falls in several constituent price points – lanthanum oxide, cerium oxide and neodymium among them – the monthly Rare Earths MMI® held steady over the past month for a March reading of 43, on par with February’s value.
This comes after two straight months of declines for the index, and it, along with our Renewables MMI, shares the dubious distinction of spending its entire existence under the Jan. 2012 baseline of 100.
The majority of the price points in the complex held steady over the past month. But nothing has really changed to skew our existing outlook for this minor metals market.
As we reported on last month’s rare earths index, the trouble for downstream demand of rare earth metals, minerals and oxides is far from over. Industry sources report that China demand for rare earths for the balance of 2013 is likely to remain sluggish, mainly because downstream end-use sectors are not holding up their end, according to metal-pages.com.
Certainly not helping the demand situation is more supply coming on stream. Lynas Corp. reported in a Feb. 27 company statement that the company has finally produced rare earths for customers, including a handy dandy flowchart of its process. Of course, it’ll take a bit to scale this operation, but the fundamental reality of future supply increases portend a depressed rare earths market as far as prices may be concerned over the next few years.
“We are watching the rare earth metal price index very closely because we believe a price floor has finally formed,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “Now whether that means prices will begin ticking up remains to be seen, but we have struggled to see a floor.”
Primary Price Drivers of Rare Earths Index
After remaining essentially unchanged the previous month, the price of lanthanum oxide fell 22.8 percent to $6,267 per metric ton. The price of cerium oxide dropped 17.0 percent to $6,668 per metric ton. Rare earth carbonate prices dropped by 15.4 percent this month to $4,419 per metric ton. The price of neodymium fell 6.6 percent to $68,290 per metric ton. The price of dysprosium oxide fell 2.4 percent over the past month to $325.38 per kilogram, the second straight month of declines.
The price of yttrium held flat over the past month at $64.27 per kilogram. Prices for terbium oxide remained constant this past month, holding at around $626.66 per kilogram. Yttria held pat last month at $18,880 per metric ton. The price of terbium metal remained steady over the past month at $1,261 per kilogram. Praseodymium neodymium oxide traded sideways last month, staying around $50,213 per metric ton. Europium oxide experienced a flat month, staying around $948.03 per kilogram. The price of samarium oxide held flat over the past month at $8,436 per metric ton. At a price of $60,256 per metric ton, praseodymium oxide did not budge the entire month. Neodymium oxide held pat last month at $60,256 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.