The Rare Earths MMI® has earned the dubious distinction of MetalMiner’s Worst-Performing MMI of 2012.
The monthly rare earth metals price index registered a value of 46 in January, a decrease of 4.2 percent from 48 in December.
“We still see across-the-board price drops for light and heavy rare earth metals,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “This indicates to us that ample supply exists globally and new production that has come on-stream has created additional downward price pressure.”
Our friend Gareth Hatch over at Technology Metals Research recently covered the 2013 China rare earth export allocations and suggests that because actual export levels fell below export quotas, the drop in demand and new sources of supply may mean the Chinese authorities could move to further limit export quotas. Second half of the year quotas have yet to be released.
But the reduction of export quotas remains problematic for the Chinese government. Though a reduction may help shore up the price and provide a floor, it keeps fewer mining companies in operation. Healthy profits may equate to healthy companies, but keeping people employed plays a large part in China policy actions.
Primary Drivers of Rare Earths Index Decline
The price of dysprosium oxide closed the month at CNY 2,450 ($392.72) per kilogram after dropping 11.1 percent. A 9.3 percent decline for terbium oxide left the price at CNY 4,450 ($713.30) per kilogram. Europium oxide prices dropped by 4.2 percent this month to CNY 6,050 ($969.77) per kilogram.
The neodymium oxide price dropped 3.6 percent to $66,521.34 per metric ton.
Yttrium dropped only very slightly, staying around CNY 400.00 ($64.12) 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 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.