Japan Considering REE Stockpile
Source: Reuters, Risa Maeda (10/1/10)
"We're studying prices and supply and demand situations."
Japan is considering starting a stockpile of rare earth minerals as a buffer against interruptions to usual trade, its trade minister said on Friday, in the wake of China's de facto ban on exports of the minerals to Japan.
"We're considering a stockpile of rare earth minerals. . .and studying prices and supply and demand situations," Akihiro Ohata said at a regular news conference on Friday.
The trade ministry has started studying which rare earth minerals should be in the stockpile as it is not practical to hold all of 17 types, a ministry official said.
Industry sources had cited concerns that Beijing was apparently holding back shipments to Japan of rare earth minerals, vital for electronics and auto parts, though a Japanese trading firm source said earlier this week that China had ended the de facto ban.
The minister confirmed some rare earth shipments have been sent to Japan from China.
"We have information that the Japan-bound shipments of one company are moving (toward Japan)," Ohata said.