Rare Earths MMI: New Rare Earths Industry Association Enters the Fray

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) picked up one point, rising for a July MMI value of 23.

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New Rare Earths Association

A new rare earths industry based in Belgium was launched last month.

Dubbed the Rare Earths Industry Association (REIA), it is the first rare earths association outside of China, Euractiv reported.

The group aims to bring together all elements of the rare earths supply chain and “strengthen the European REE skills and knowledge base,” according to the group’s website.

“GloREIAs second ambitious goal is to develop a more synergistic REE supply chain; aiming to reduce the deep fragmentation known in this sector and apply the knowledge gained from EU projects, research and members to generate an economy wide impact,” the website adds. “The GloREIA consortium assembles the best European manufacturers and academic expertise on REEs, together with global associations such as the Chinese Society of Rare Earths (CSRE) and Association of China Rare Earth Industry, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and EIT RawMaterials so that research and policy activities in the area of Rare Earth Elements can be streamlined, integrated and mutually strengthened for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The mining of rare earths — a misnomer given their abundance — has long been dominated by China. These elements are coveted for their use in a wide range of high-tech applications.

On the Tariff Front

Speaking of China’s dominance of the market, that fact has to date has given the U.S. pause when it comes to imposing tariffs on imports of rare earth elements (REEs) from China.

In a $200 billion tariff list imposed last September, the U.S. ultimately opted not to include REEs.

However, in a tense May, President Donald Trump opted to raise the tariff rate on those $200 billion in goods from 10% to 25%, and even threatened an additional $325 billion in tariffs, essentially subjecting all remaining imports from China to duties.

Given China’s role in the rare earths sector, it remains to be seen if rare earths would be included on a future tariff list.

According to a CNBC report in June, China’s exports of rare earths fell to 3,639.5 metric tons in May after reaching 4,329 metric tons the previous month.

Actual Metal Prices and Trends

Chinese yttrium rose 0.6% month over month to $32.77/kg as of July 1. Terbium oxide rose 13.0% to $597.81/kg.

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Neodymium oxide dropped 0.3% to $50,522.20/mt. Europium oxide fell 1.6% to $32.77/kg. Dysprosium oxide fell 1.0% to $283.25/kg.

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