WTO: China Violated Free Trade with Rare Earth Restrictions

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China broke international trade law by restricting the export of rare earth elements and other metals crucial to modern manufacturing, a World Trade Organization panel said last Wednesday.

The conclusion opens the possibility that the Chinese government will face trade sanctions from the US, which initially brought the case, the European Union and Japan.

It could mean significantly lower prices for the rare metals if China complies and removes the restrictions, as China produces more than nine-tenths of the global supply of the metals, which are essential to modern applications including smartphones.

Following a 8.6 percent decline to CNY 3,200 ($515.85) per kilogram, terbium oxide finished as the week’s biggest mover on the weekly Rare Earths MMI®. Dysprosium oxide finished the week at CNY 1,700 ($274.05) per kilogram after falling 8.1 percent. Terbium metal weakened by 6.1 percent to land at CNY 4,600 ($741.54) per kilogram.

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Praseodymium neodymium oxide prices were off slightly at CNY 325,000 ($52,391) per metric ton, down from CNY 335,000 ($53,813) a week ago. The price of europium oxide declined 2.3 percent over the past week, settling at CNY 4,200 ($677.05) per kilogram. Europium oxide fell 2.3 percent over the past week to CNY 4,200 ($677.05) per kilogram. After a 1.5 percent decline, neodymium oxide closed out the week at CNY 320,000 ($51,585) per metric ton.

Cerium oxide remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 22,000 ($3,546) per metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for lanthanum oxide closed flat at CNY 22,000 ($3,546) per metric ton. At CNY 580,000 ($93,498) per metric ton, the price of praseodymium oxide did not change since the previous week. Rare earth carbonate traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 25,000 ($4,030) per metric ton.

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Closing at CNY 18,500 ($2,982) per metric ton, samarium oxide remained unchanged for the week. At CNY 60,000 ($9,672) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for yttria. Yttrium prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 290.00 ($46.75) per kilogram.

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. 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.

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