Chinese Rare Earth Exports Mired In Doldrums

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China may reduce the rare earth export quota next year due to the slump in exports this year which has resulted in approximately 8,000 tons of unused quota, reports National Business Daily, citing an insider from the rare earth industry.

The insider attributed the plunge in rare earth exports mainly to the drop in demand by European and U.S. buyers, and to the practice of setting export reference prices by Chinese customs.

Baotou Tianjiao Seimi Rare Earth Polishing Powder, a rare earth trading company, exported 13.145 tons of rare earth products in the first three quarters, accounting for only three percent of its target for the year. The company has a 2011 rare earth export quota of 271 tons.

According to Du Shuaibing, an analyst with, an information provider for the raw materials industry in China, the export reference prices of rare earth set by the customs department are often higher than domestic spot prices, and effectively served as barriers to exports.

The domestic average spot price of neodymia in September was 1.1 million yuan per ton, while the average export price was $331,100 per ton, or 2.1 million yuan per ton.
China had set a rare earth quota of 30,184 tons for full year 2011, including 14,446 tons in the first batch, and 15,738 tons in the second.

The rare earth export quota will below 30,000 tons next year, according to an insider from The Chinese Society of Rare Earths.

According to Zhang Zhong, general manager of Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-earth(Group) Hi-tech (600111.SH), China exported less than 7,000 tons of rare earth as of end June, down by more than 60 percent from the same period of 2010.

Shares of Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-earth(Group) Hi-tech fell 1.89 percent to close at 46.18 yuan per share today.



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