Rare Earth Prices Remain Unstable, Pressuring Lampmakers
Reuters reported that China’s Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech has temporarily suspended its smelting and separation operations in an effort to stimulate the market. A statement from Baotou, China’s leading rare earths producer, cited falling prices and oversupply as motivators.
China, which accounts for 97 per cent of global supply, tightened controls over production and mining of rare earth metals earlier this year, causing prices to soar, peaking this summer. All major lamp manufacturers announced price increases at that time.
This most recent move will likely cause further instability in prices and profit margins for lamp manufacturers. Rare earth metals are crucial to phosphors used in fluorescent and LED light sources, among other electronics products.