Delegates of the 2019 Magnetics Conference, held in Orlando, Florida on 23-24 January, held a range of opinions on the effects of US restrictions on Chinese magnet trade for defence purposes. Many were previously unaware of the restrictions, which were signed into law in August 2018 as part of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, banning shipments of NdFeB and SmCo magnets into the US from China, as well as Russia, North Korea, and Iran. This lack of criticality suggests that markets are not yet feeling the full effects of the cease in trade, possibly due to existing stocks and the fact that defence applications make up just a small part of some producers’ sales. Meanwhile, some magnet producers were already seeking alternative supply routes and were concerned about future competition for non-Chinese supply.
The US itself produces very small quantities of rare earth magnets, mainly high performance SmCos for niche applications such as those in aerospace. China accounts for an estimated 85-90% of rare earth magnet production, with the remainder produced by companies in Japan and Europe. Many of the companies supplying the US defence sector process semi-finished magnets which have traditionally been purchased from China.
Roskill’s new Rare Earths: Global Industry, Markets & Outlook report was published in December 2018 and includes supply, demand and price forecasts out to 2028, along with profiles of major producers, processors and end-users. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages, or to access further information.