SHANGHAI, May 14 (SMM) – Prices of rare earth oxides declined across several product types last week, due to poor downstream demand during the low season. SMM expects prices to lack support in the near term, even as cost pressure across major separation plants are likely to slow the decline in prices.
SMM expects prices of praseodymium-neodymium oxide to dip to 310,000-315,000 yuan/mt this week. This compared with 320,000-325,000 yuan/mt for the week ended Friday May 11.
The listed price of praseodymium-neodymium oxide was lowered 33,000 yuan/mt from April to 330,000 yuan/mt by China Northern Rare Earth (Group) on Thursday May 10. This followed after sellers lowered offers to boost transactions amid weak sentiment.
Most downstream customers purchased as needed during the current low season. Some with low inventories of raw materials are unlikely to make big purchases given recent weak prices. Demand was also affected by the shutdown of some non-compliant metal plants in north China.
Separation plants tend to hold back on cost pressures, even in face of losses, when prices of rare earth oxides fall below those of their corresponding ores. Some plants were heard to have imposed production cutbacks last week.
The overall output of rare earth ores is expected to surge from higher production targets in China this year.
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