China's Rare Earth May Become a Bit Less Rare

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"The kinder export quota will make little impact over the next two to eight years as offshore competitors—potentially solid investments—have already started to develop better processing technology."

The Street, Ralph Jennings

China's Ministry of Commerce said last week it would raise the maximum amount of rare earth element exports by 2.7% this year. That means more shipments of prized industrial-use chemicals that are ensconced in China's subsurface rocks and are hard to separate out.

The higher export quota equals 30,996 metric tons of rare earth materials, a term that refers to 17 different elements that are hard to find or process outside China.

In theory, manufacturers from defense to electric vehicles should cheer the news, as China had set off a panic by restricting rare earth exports earlier. The industry and foreign trade reps viewed China's curbs from 2005 as a move to protect its reserves. Countries such as the U.S. have complained to the World Trade Organization that China is hoarding rare earth elements. . .View Full Article

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