Now updated and released every 12 months, the Rare Earths Global Industry Markets and Outlook report brings you the very latest data and analysis in this unique commodity.
The rare earth industry has experienced significant changes in 2017, causing prices for many rare earth elements to increase and spark renewed interest from project developers and existing producers alike. China remains the major power in the rare earths industry, accounting for more than 80% of supply, and over 66% of global demand in 2017. Despite its sustained dominance since the early-2000s, forecast market developments may force China to become more reliant of REE resources outside its borders during the coming years.
Rare earth supply in China has tightened in 2017 amidst environmental inspections, government stockpiling, increased trading activity and demand growth for many rare earth products. The price reaction has led to efforts by Chinese government to control price increases, in an effort to avoid a damaging price spike last experienced in 2011. Tighter supply in China and increasing prices has led to the acceleration of develops at non-Chinese rare earth projects, with projects in Australia, Russia, Brazil, Canada, Burundi and Tanzania, amoungst others, scheduled to enter production by 2027. The increase in non-Chinese production is expected to significantly reduce China’s stranglehold on REE supply, though China is expected to remain the major supplier of REE products to the global market.
Neodymium and praseodymium, most commonly used in the manufacture of permanent magnet alloys, have fostered particular interest amongst the group of rare earths during 2017. The use of permanent magnets in electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles is forecast to create strong and sustained demand growth for these materials. In 2017, demand for neodymium and praseodymium represented 14% of total global demand, which is expected to increase to over 24% by 2027.
Demand for cerium and lanthanum, used largely in catalytic and battery applications are also forecast to increases. Cerium demand is forecast to grow by around 4%py through to 2027, whilst lanthanum is forecast it increase by over 4.5%py. As supply is increased to meet demand growth for light rare earth products however, additional supply of many heavy rare earth products could result in a growing oversupply, impacting prices.