China's Sets First Round of 2013 Rare Earth Exports 27% Below 2012
NEW YORK, 01/02/13 - Rare earth stocks struggled in 2012 as prices for the metals plunged due to weak economic growth and new supplies from non-Chinese producers. The Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX), which tracks the performance of companies engaged in activities related to the producing, refining and recycling of rare earth and strategic metals and minerals, has fallen 11.8 percent in 2012. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Rare Earth Industry and provides equity research on Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) and Lynas Corp. Ltd. (PINKSHEETS: LYSCF)
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Rare earth prices have plummeted 77 percent from their high in 2011. Due to a slowdown in foreign demand China, the world's largest exporter of rare-earths, has decided to lower their 2013 export quotas. The Taipei Times has recently reported that China's Ministry of Commerce set the first round of 2013 rare earth exports at 15,501 tons, which is 27 percent below 2012.
"If overseas demand picks up next year, the government may increase its second-batch quota," said Wei Chishan, a Shanghai-based analyst with SMM Information & Technology Co.
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With offices in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, Molycorp is the only U.S-based company that is fully integrated across the rare earth mine-to-magnets supply chain. Molycorp owns the largest rare earth deposit in the U.S. The company has recently appointed Vice Chairman Constantine Karayannopoulos as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. Shares of the company have fallen 60 percent in 2012.
Lynas is currently in a dispute with the Malaysian government over the storage of waste produced at their refinery. "To appease the anxiety of the people, we have said we will voluntarily take it upon ourselves to export the material, at a cost to us," said Lynas Executive Chairman Nicholas Curtis. "This is not a license condition. I think in the heat of a political debate the position was exaggerated from what is actually the legal position."
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