Chinese rare earth prices continue to fall amid low demand

Low demand from China’s magnet manufacturing sector continued to drive down rare earth prices on domestic and export markets, with suppliers cutting prices to close sales, sources told Fastmarkets in the week to Thursday June 6

“Sentiment on China’s neodymium-praseodymium market weakened at the start of June, with no support from the downstream side. More sellers have lowered prices to boost sales, as buyers are unwilling to accept higher prices and in no hurry to place orders,” a producer said.

Neodymium-praseodymium is the main rare earth raw material used in neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets and makes up around a third of a finished magnet.

Major producer China Northern Rare Earth cut its guide prices for June after raising prices in the previous month, in an attempt to achieve higher prices for its products following a protracted period of price falls driven by sluggish demand.

Northern Rare Earth lowered its June price for neodymium-praseodymium oxide to 384,800 yuan ($53,085) per tonne, down by 8,400 yuan per tonne from 393,200 yuan per tonne in May. It also lowered its price for neodymium-praseodymium metal to 478,000 yuan per tonne, down by 10,000 yuan per tonne from 488,000 yuan per tonne in May, the company said on Monday.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for the neodymium-praseodymium oxide 99% ratio (75:25), fob China price fell to $51-53 per kg on June 6, down by $1 per kg from $52-54 per kg on May 30.

And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for neodymium-praseodymium metal (Nd 75% Pr 25%), fob China dropped to $63-65 per kg on June 6, down by $2 per kg from $65-67 per kg seven days earlier.

The market reaction in Europe was more muted, with prices for praseodymium oxide unchanged and prices for neodymium oxide edging down slightly week on week. Neodymium oxide has growing applications in automotive catalysts and water treatment chemicals, and praseodymium oxide is mainly used in the glass industry in Europe.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for praseodymium oxide 99.5%, cif Rotterdam was unchanged week on week at $56-57 per kg on June 6. Meanwhile, Fastmarkets’ price assessment for neodymium oxide 99.5%, cif Rotterdam narrowed downward by $3 per kg to $55-57 per kg from $55-60 per kg a week earlier.

Prices fall for heavy rare earth magnetic materials

Dysprosium and terbium export prices fell again this week, in line with lower domestic prices driven by weak demand.

“Buyers are reluctant to accept higher prices, so if we want to conclude deals the prices will be lower. It is hard to maintain prices at a higher level considering the sluggish market,” a second producer said.

Dysprosium and terbium are added in trace amounts to NdFeB magnets to improve their performance at higher temperatures.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for dysprosium oxide 99.5%, fob China fell to $260-310 per kg on June 6, down by $10 per kg from $270-320 per kg a week earlier.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for dysprosium metal min 99%, fob China dropped to $335-360 per kg on June 6, down by $10 per kg from $345-370 per kg on May 30. And Fastmarkets’ price assessment for ferro-dysprosium 80%, fob China fell to $255-270 per kg on June 6, down by $5 per kg from $260-275 per kg a week earlier.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for terbium oxide 99.99%, fob China dropped to $800-830 per kg on June 6, down by $30 per kg from $830-860 per kg on May 30. Meanwhile, Fastmarkets’ price assessment for terbium metal min 99.9%, fob China dropped to $1,020-1,060 per kg, down by $40-50 per kg from $1,070-1,100 per kg a week earlier.

Export prices for high-purity gadolinium oxide, which has applications in aerospace and healthcare, were unchanged from the previous week due to relatively stable domestic prices, although demand remains weak.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for gadolinium oxide 99.99%-99.999%, fob China remained at $28-31 per kg on June 6, unchanged from May 30.

Access all the Fastmarkets rare earths prices, news and market analysis. Your guide to market trends, pricing dynamics and the global rare earths supply chain.

What to read next
Saudi Arabia, through its spearheading of a mining and minerals production and consumption push in the Middle East, a region usually associated with oil and gas, is leading neighboring countries to increase their presence in the base metals markets
Indonesia is preparing to invest more in its aluminium supply chain as part of its wider critical metals strategy, Fastmarkets understands
In the third episode of Fastmarkets critical minerals podcast Fast Forward, Trafigura CEO Jeremy Weir tells host Andrea Hotter why the current geopolitical environment means that the energy transition won’t be a smooth ride for commodity traders
US-headquartered Atlas Lithium decided to expand its investment into Brazilian hard-rock lithium feedstock resources with the acquisition of new exploration permits ahead of scheduled first production from its Neves project in the fourth quarter, the company announced on Monday June 17
Here are the key insights from our conversation with Fastmarkets’ Paul Lusty on the future of the battery raw materials and electric vehicle markets
Market sentiment remain mixed on whether the investigation will impact aluminium prices and production