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Adamas Intelligence: China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018

According to a new report from Adamas Intelligence, China became a net-importer of several rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018. The report, Rare Earth Recap 2018: Global Production, Trade and Prices, provides an overview of global primary and secondary production by country, oxide (or oxide equivalent) and value in 2018, as well as global monthly trade of key rare earth materials originating from China and other important regions.

The report also assesses prices of over 50 commonly-traded rare earth materials, including oxides, chemicals, metals, alloys and more than 25 grades of sintered NdFeB magnets.

Among the findings of this year’s report:

  • In 2018, total global primary rare earth oxide production increased by 20.8% as China raised domestic mining, smelting and separation quotas for the first time in five years, and production in Myanmar and the US surged.

  • During the same period, Adamas estimates that illegal production in China fell by 50%, creating a vacuum that was filled by record-high imports from Myanmar and the US, resulting in China becoming a net-importer of at least seven rare earth oxides (or oxide equivalents) in 2018.

  • With an ongoing crackdown on illegal rare earth production in China, concentrate imports from Myanmar have become a vital source of dysprosium, terbium and gadolinium for China’s magnet and alloy manufacturers.

  • If imports from Myanmar are banned in 2019 and China’s production quotas are not sufficiently increased to compensate, the potential for dysprosium, terbium and gadolinium supply disruptions will rapidly increase, as too will the potential for high-grade magnet supply disruptions.

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