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China’s rare earth exports rise by 28pc in Jan-Feb

A significant rebound in stockpiling demand from key consumer countries boosted Chinese rare earth exports during January-February after declines in 2019-20.

China’s total shipments during January-February rose to 7,068t from 5,489t in the same period last year, according to customs data. February deliveries of 3,045t fell by 24pc from 4,023t in January, as spot buying activity was limited by logistical bottlenecks during the country’s lunar new year holiday in the middle of February.

Shipments to Japan and the US, China’s top two export destinations that typically account for over half of China’s total rare earth exports, each rose by double-digit figures on the year as stockpiling demand for rare earths from these countries recovered steadily from the pandemic.

Demand from some European countries such as the Netherlands, Italy and Spain weakened on the year while purchases from France and Poland rose significantly, led by a resurgence of policy-driven electric vehicle sales from the second half of the year.

China’s rare earth shipments to Brazil saw the largest increase during January-February, rising to 110t from 3t. Stronger consumer demand fuelled rare earth consumption across buyers from India and Vietnam in the first two months of this year.

China’s RE export countries t
Jan-Feb ’21 Jan-Feb ’20 ± %
Japan 2,561 2,091 22.48
The US 1,394 1,035 34.69
Netherlands 796 1,114 -28.55
South Korea 404 236 71.19
Italy 146 324 -54.94
Vietnam 255 136 87.50
Brazil 110 3 3,566.67
India 263 102 157.84
France 457 90 407.78
Russia 102 10 920.00
Germany 52 43 20.93
Spain 42 46 -8.70
Canada 43 60 -28.33
Taiwan 171 60 185.00
Norway 48 42 14.29
Poland 56 22 154.55
Others 168 75 205.45
Total 7,068 5,489 28.77
China’s RE elements exports t
Jan-Feb ’21 Average price ($/t) Jan-Feb ’20 Average price ($/t)
Lanthanum oxide 1,048 1,792 806 2,030
Cerium carbonate 1,102 1,241 486 1,515
Lanthanum carbonate 465 2,601 609 2,655
Cerium oxide 601 3,196 506 3,366
Lanthanum metal 355 4,967 415 5,124
Yttrium oxide 468 4,585 390 4,422
Neodymium metal 21 66,867 5 52,093
Dysprosium oxide 7 335,283 2 454,544
Praseodymium oxide 48 55,952 3 55,112
Terbium oxide 10 1,218,289 2 454,544
Total 7,068 11,163 5,489 7,743

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