China dominates production of rare earths in the world. The price of rare earths such as dysprosium and neodymium skyrocketed after China effectively halted the export of rare earths to Japan in September 2010 when Japan arrested a Chinese fisherman whose boat collided into a Japan Coast Guard ship. However, the price has been declining since then as Japan and other advanced countries developed technologies to reduce dependence on rare earths. The price of rare earths is unlikely to resume its long-term upward trend. China repealed quota of rare earth export after WTO denied such quota. The Japanese government plans to dig rare earths in the Pacific Ocean.

Mine Production of Rare Earths by Countries in 2014, estimated

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2015

Price Movement of Major Rare Earths in the Shanghai Market (2 Jan 2008 = 100)

Source: SteelHome, data from Bloomberg

About the Author:
Fumitaka Noguchi is a senior analyst at DZH Financial Research, Inc. in Tokyo. Mr. Noguchi spent most of his career in the field of international investment at Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance. While working at Yasuda, Mr. Noguchi was stationed in New York from 1996 to 2001 responsible for U.S. equity management. He holds an MA from the International University of Japan, 1987 and a BA from the University of Tokyo, 1982.

The article above is an opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MV Index Solutions or its affiliates.