SHANGHAI, Apr. 2 (SMM) – Rare earth prices have been falling since the start of 2013. Praseodymium-neodymium alloy prices rallied early this year, but transactions were muted, with prices stabilizing between RMB 400,000-405,000/mt, up RMB 15,000/mt from last year’s end. Prices for other rare earth categories maintained downward track.
In 1Q, prices for lanthanum oxide and cerium oxide dropped most steeply. SMM quotes for lanthanum oxide in late March were RMB 33,000-35,000/mt, while SMM quotes for cerium oxide were RMB 38,000-40,000/mt, down 34% and 22.4% respectively from the end of 2012.
In fact, rare earth prices have been weakening after the Chinese New Year holiday, with quotes for lanthanum oxide and cerium oxide leading decreases. Dysprosium oxide and dysprosium ferroalloy also fell. Transactions were muted, with most cargo holders standing on the sidelines.
According to Chen Quanxun, President of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, the rare earth industry has been in severe oversupply, with the capacity utilization rate below 40%.
According to annual reports of listed companies, net profits at Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-earth (Group) Hi-tech Company last year were RMB 1.51 billion, down 56.57% YoY.