Prices for rare earth magnetic materials fall on low demand

Chinese rare earth export prices moved lower over the past week, in line with falling domestic prices driven by suppliers cutting offers in response to continued weak demand from the downstream magnet sector

“Buying slows down when prices are falling. Buyers are monitoring the market and waiting for the June guide prices from Northern Rare Earths,” a trader said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for the neodymium-praseodymium oxide 99% ratio (75:25), fob China price fell to $52-54 per kg on May 30, from $54-56 per kg a week earlier.

Neodymium-praseodymium is the largest rare earth component of neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) magnets and makes up around a third of a finished magnet.

Prices also fell for Fastmarkets’ neodymium-praseodymium metal (Nd 75% Pr 25%), fob China to $65-67 per kg on May 30, from $67-69 per kg on May 23.

“China’s praseodymium-neodymium market has recently been experiencing a sustained decline in prices that is largely attributable to low demand from buyers in the NdFeB magnet sector,” a producer said.

In Europe market conditions were quiet, and prices for neodymium oxide and praseodymium oxide – both primarily used in non-magnetic applications – were unchanged on the previous week.

Fastmarkets’ weekly assessment for neodymium oxide 99.5%, cif Rotterdam held at $55-60 per kg on May 30, unchanged from May 23. And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for praseodymium oxide 99.5%, cif Rotterdam was also unchanged at $55-56 per kg.

Neodymium oxide has applications in automotive catalysts and water treatment chemicals and praseodymium oxide is mainly used in the glass industry in Europe.

Heavy rare earth markets fall

“We only received a few enquiries and orders for dysprosium and terbium this week, and the lack of demand is putting pressure on the whole market. There are some sellers withholding sales, but the downward trend is unstoppable,” the trader said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for dysprosium oxide 99.5%, fob China fell to $270-320 per kg on May 30, from $280-330 per kg on May 23.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for dysprosium metal min 99% fob China dropped to $345-370 per kg on May 30 from $355-380 per kg on May 23. And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for ferro-dysprosium 80% fob China fell to $260-275 per kg, from $275-280 per kg a week earlier.

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

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for terbium oxide 99.99%, fob China fell to $830-860 per kg on May 30, from $890-920 per kg on May 23. And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for terbium metal min 99.9%, fob China dropped to $1,070-1,100 per kg, from $1,110-1,140 per kg a week earlier.

Chinese export prices for high-purity gadolinium, used in health care and aerospace, fell on lower domestic prices and weak demand.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for gadolinium oxide 99.99%-99.999% fob China fell to $28-31 per kg on May 30, down by $1 per kg from $29-32 per kg on May 23.

“Sentiment is weaker because of low demand, and high-purity gadolinium oxide prices have been also under downward pressure. I will keep monitoring the market to see if there will be any changes in June,” a second producer said.

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