China rare earth prices explode as export volumes collapse

Reuters
March 23, 2011
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, AUTO, FABRICATION

China's exports of rare earth metals burst through the $100,000-per-tonne mark for the first time in February, up almost ninefold from a year before, while the volume of trade stayed far below historical averages.

Cerium oxide, one of the 17 elements that compose rare earth minerals, is the most efficient polishing material for glass, float glass manufacturers also use cerium oxide as a raw material in the glass melting process

China's squeeze on rare earths has forced prices up dramatically since July last year, when each tonne fetched a mere $14,405 on average. The apparent price rises have averaged $10,000 per tonne per month but accelerated in February, galloping ahead by $34,000 per tonne, according to Reuters calculations based on data from China's Customs office, according to a March 22 Reuters report.

Read a Glass Magazine article on the cerium oxide shortage and its effects on the glass and glazing industry.

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