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World Rare Earth Market

  • November 2015
  • -
  • Freedonia
  • -
  • 318 pages


Table of Contents

Study coverage

This report presents historical demand and mine production data (2004, 2009, 2014) plus forecasts (2019, 2024) by product and market in six world regions and 13 major countries. The study also considers key market environment factors, evaluates company market share, and profiles 30 industry players such as China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech, Lynas, and Molycorp

World demand to rise 3.5% annually through 2019

Worldwide demand for rare earths is projected to increase 3.5 percent per annum to 149,500 metric tons in 2019, valued at $4.5 billion. The best prospects are forecast for the permanent magnets segment, boosted by expanding production of advanced neodymium magnets for applications such as wind turbines and hybrid and electric vehicles (H/EVs). Growing output of nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries is also expected to boost rare earths consumption, although strong competition from sales of lithium-ion batteries will prevent faster market expansion. In addition, upgrades to oil refining sectors in emerging countries are projected to fuel global catalytic cracking capacity, supporting the production of fluid cracking catalysts and associated demand for lanthanum and cerium. Among other major markets, rising production of steel, motor vehicles, and electronics is expected to stimulate the consumption of rare earths.

Ongoing weakness in rare earth prices is also expected to bolster demand volumes, promoting a shift back to rare earth-based catalysts, polishing powders, and other products that manufacturers abandoned amid the 2010-2012 price spike. Nevertheless, lingering wariness of price volatility will support the continued usage of alternative low- and zero-rare earth products, limiting stronger market advances through 2019

China to remain dominant, India to post fastest gains

China is expected to remain the leading consumer of rare earths, accounting for two-thirds of global demand in 2019. Growth in the Chinese market will be stimulated by healthy increases in the country’s output of neodymium magnets, Ni-MH batteries, and refinery products. Japan will represent the second largest global market, benefiting from a large domestic electronics manufacturing sector, and robust demand for rare earths in the production of batteries, magnets, and polishing powders.
The fastest gains of any major market worldwide are projected for India, where heightened domestic shipments of motor vehicles and metal alloys, as well as expanding catalytic cracking capacity, are expected to boost rare earths consumption. India is also developing local production of rare earth magnets, although this market will remain small in the near term.

Global supply to rebound despite weak prices

China will continue to account for the majority of rare earths mining output through 2019, although its share of total production is expected to drop as a number of new projects in Canada, Tanzania, South Africa, and other countries begin commercial production. Major output increases are also expected in Australia as Lynas continues to ramp up production following capacity expansions. However, junior mining companies will struggle to obtain investments for new ventures as rare earth prices remain depressed. Prices are expected to remain weak, due in part to rampant illegal mining in China.

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