SHANGHAI, May 13 (SMM) – Prices of praseodymium-neodymium oxide in China are expected to feel limited impact from the exemption of tariffs on US rare earth metal ores, in light of healthy demand in the near term.
China on Tuesday announced a new list of 79 US products, including rare earth metal ores, eligible for waivers from retaliatory tariffs imposed at the height of the bilateral trade wars. Tariffs of 25% on rare earth metal ores imported from the US will be removed for a year starting May 19.
The US is the major supplier of rare earth metal ores—feedstock for light rare earth processing—to China. China’s imports of rare earth metal ores from the US jumped 46% year on year in the June-December period of 2019, according to data from China customs. That came despite Beijing raising import tariff on such materials from the US to 25% starting June 1, 2019, from 10% previously.
Demand for praseodymium-neodymium oxide, a typical light rare earth product, in China has been healthy recently, which boosted prices to 270,000 yuan/mt as of Wednesday.
SMM assessed prices of praseodymium-neodymium oxide at 268,000-272,000 yuan/mt as of May 13, up 1,500 yuan/mt from the day before and marking a four straight trading day of gains.
While the tariff exemption is set to ease financial pressure on and reduce production costs for most rare earth separation and processing plants and boost supply, prices of praseodymium-neodymium oxide in China are unlikely to fall sharply in the short term, underpinned by the recent demand recovery.