The Rare Earth MMI® fell off a cliff this month, dropping from 39 to 29. Nearly all of the rare earth metals that make up the monthly index dropped, with the exception of rare earth carbonate and neodymium.
Chinese exports of rare earth metals have picked up substantially in March over April, according to an article published today in MetalMiner. Those exports go more toward Japan as opposed to the US market and appear as a positive demand signal, as Japanese fiscal and monetary policies designed to boost Japan out of its two-decade-long economic malaise begin to take effect.
The question remains, however: what will happen to rare earth metal prices as a result?
As MetalMiner editor Stuart Burns notes, the dramatic drop in RE prices has more to do with the bubble that preceded the drop than anything else. In addition, the new rare earth supply coming on-stream from Molycorp and Lynas means China doesn’t control the entire market any longer.
With that, China also has ceded the ability to monopolize rare earth metal pricing. What that means, of course, from a producer standpoint remains unclear. Prices will trough at some point, but we’re all still asking – when?
The monthly Rare Earths MMI® registered a value of 29 in June, a decrease of 25.6 percent from 39 in May.
At $179.27 per kilogram, dysprosium oxide was down 34.3 percent for the month. A 32.5 percent drop over the past month left yttrium at $44.00 per kilogram. The price of terbium oxide fell 32.4 percent to $391.13 per kilogram. After falling 28.6 percent, yttria finished the month at $10,186 per metric ton. Samarium oxide prices dropped by 26.3 percent this month to $5,704 per metric ton. Cerium oxide prices fell 23.3 percent to $4,563 per metric ton. Following a 23.1 percent decline in price, europium oxide finished the month at $570.40 per kilogram. A 21.5 percent decline for neodymium oxide left the price at CNY 255,000 ($41,558) per metric ton. The price of terbium metal closed the month at $1,019 per kilogram after dropping 20.4 percent. Lanthanum oxide prices fell 13.2 percent to $4,808 per metric ton. After falling 9.6 percent, praseodymium neodymium oxide finished the month at $42,373 per metric ton. Praseodymium oxide prices dropped by 3.4 percent this month to $57,855 per metric ton.
Last month was consistent for rare earth carbonate, which did not move from $4,482 per metric ton. The price of neodymium held steady around $69,263 per metric ton last month.
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.