Updated: 2013-04-01(chinadaily.com.cn) - Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech, the country's largest rare earth producer, announced in its financial results that it saw a sharp drop in its net profit and revenue in 2012 due to withering demand and a slowing economy.
The company's net profit declined 56 percent to 1.51 billion yuan ($240 million) last year compared with 2011.
Its revenue fell 19 percent to 9.24 billion yuan as a result of continuous low demand in the rare earth market and a drop in rare earth prices.
From raw material to functional products, the revenue has been down significantly, the company said.
The current price for primary rare earth products is 35 percent lower than in 2012. The company plans to reach revenue of 7.5 billion yuan in 2013.
Baotou Steel resumed production on Feb 23 after a four-month halt in production affected by the price slump.
Another major rare earth producer, China Minmetals Rare Earth Co Ltd, announced on March 26 its revenue was down 47 percent from 7.6 billion yuan in 2011 and its net profit has dropped 74 percent from 1.02 billion yuan in 2011.
Rare earths, which comprise 17 metallic elements, are used in many important technological products including missile systems and hybrid cars.
Export trade value has been on the decline as well. According to statistics from Baotou Customs, despite exports of rare earth increasing 3.3 percent to 3,021 metric tons in 2012, prices are down 76 percent to $26,000 per ton.