SHANGHAI, Aug 10 (SMM) - China rare earth exports in July stood at 3955 mt, down 1.4% month on month but surged 144.2% year on year according to the General Administration of Customs. The average export prices was $16460/mt, up 23% month on month and 5% year on year. The export volume totalled 1620 mt in the same period of last year.
The fall of export volume in July on a monthly basis was mainly due to the tight domestic supply in the month as cargo holders were unwilling to sell, combined with summer break in overseas market.
On the other hand, prices of domestic mainstream rare earth products surged, leading to MoM increases in export prices as the overseas market was also impacted by the high quotation. For example, Pr-Nd oxide averaged at 557000 yuan/mt in the month, up 18% on a month basis; Pr-Nd metal averaged at 694000 yuan/mt, rising by 19% from the previous month.
In addition, the YoY growth rate of rare earth exports in July surged to 144.2%, because the overall exports were comparatively low last year due to the pandemic. However, export prices in July only added 5% on the year in spite of the board increases of prices among mainstream products. Why is that?
SMM thinks that the comparatively mild volatility in prices of lanthanum and cerium products, which made up the majority of the total exports, was the leading cause. For example, the prices of lanthanum oxide and cerium oxide in July declined 19% and 15% respectively year on year; while Pr-Nd oxide surged nearly 90%, indicating a much weaker price pattern of lanthanum and cerium.
The tightened domestic supply is likely to sustain in the short term in light of the resurged pandemic across the globe and China, continued challenges on the prevention of imported COVID cases, hindered imports of ionic ore from Myanmar, and disrupted production among some companies because of environmental protection measures.
China rare earth export volume is expected to trend down further in August.